Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Justice for Kenya

Between 1952 and 1956, the British waged a dirty colonial war in Kenya against the Mau-Mau. Opponents of the colonial regime were detained in camps, deported to reserves, and of course murdered, tortured, and raped. The extent of the atrocities was exposed by the release of the British Colonial Office's secret archive last year: beatings, castration, water torture, and the roasting alive of a prisoner

But now, three Kenyan victims of these atrocities have won the right to sue the British government for their mistreatment:

Three Kenyans who were tortured by British colonial authorities can proceed with their legal claims against the UK government, a court has ruled.

London's High Court ruled the case, relating to the 1950s Mau Mau uprising, could proceed despite the time elapsed.

The ruling means the case will now go to a full trial. Lawyers for the three hailed it as a "historic" judgement.

Appallingly, the British government has admitted the facts of the cases (which include beating, castration, and rape), but says that (thanks to independence) Kenya is now responsible for British crimes (an extremely perverse form of legal victim-blaming). Fortunately, the courts have rejected that position. An appeal is still possible, but it looks like there might finally be justice for Kenya.