Supreme Court awards KES 17.5 million to seven women over 1992 human rights violation by cops

The Supreme Court of Kenya has ruled in favor of seven women who filed petitions against the government for violation of their human rights during a demonstration in 1992.

The Court has ordered the government to pay damages of KES 2.5 million to each of the women and to bear the costs of the case in the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

The demonstration, which took place at Uhuru Park in Nairobi and was organized by a group of women and their supporters, was aimed at urging the release of political prisoners who had been arrested by the then-oppressive regime for politically-motivated offenses.

On March 3, 1992, police officers stormed the demonstration, known as “Freedom Corner,” and dispersed the protesters. The seven women, who claimed to have taken part in the demonstration, filed petitions in the High Court seeking damages for the violation of their fundamental rights and freedoms by the police officers.

The petitions, which were filed in 2013, were initially unsuccessful in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. However, in their second appeal to the Supreme Court, the women presented evidence that the incident had a psychological and traumatic effect on them, which equated to inhumane treatment.

The Supreme Court, in its judgement, set aside the previous court rulings and issued a declaration that the women’s rights and freedom from inhuman treatment as protected under Section 74(1) of the repealed Constitution were violated by the Government of Kenya through the actions of its agents and/or servants (police officers and GSU officers).

This judgement is seen as a victory for human rights activists in Kenya, as it serves as a reminder that there is no limitation of time in filing claims for human rights violations.

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