Justice for victims of torture and enforced disappearances in Kenya
On 15 and 16 May 2013 the UN Committee against Torture will examine Kenya’s human rights record with regard to torture. In light of this, TRIAL (Swiss association against impunity) submitted an alternative report to the Committee against Torture highlighting the main shortcomings in the implementation by Kenya of the Convention against Torture and expressing concerns at the situation of impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of the gross violations committed in the context of a 2008 security operation in Mt. Elgon.
In late 2012, Kenya submitted its second periodic report to the UN Committee against Torture describing the measures taken by national authorities to give effect to the Convention against Torture in the country. On 15 and 16 May a Kenyan delegation will be present in Geneva to engage in an interactive dialogue with the UN independent experts of the Committee against Torture on the effective status of implementation of the Convention in Kenya.
On the occasion of the upcoming dialogue TRIAL, in partnership with the local NGO Western Kenya Human Rights Watch (WKHRW), drafted and submitted an alternative report to the Committee against Torture raising issues concerning the main shortcomings of the national legislative framework with regard to the prohibition of torture and enforced disappearances; the failure to investigate and sanction those responsible for these crimes; the lack of adequate legislation on universal jurisdiction; and the lack of protection, reparation and compensation for victims and their relatives.
Part of the analysis by TRIAL and WKHRW focus in particular on the massive human rights violations (among which systematic torture and enforced disappearances) committed during the joint military-police operation Okoa Maisha in March and April 2008 in Mt. Elgon district. The alternative report denounces the enduring and complete state of impunity and the despairing situation of the families of the hundreds of victims that have no means to shed light on the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones, properly mourn their deaths and obtain justice and reparation for their sufferings.
At the end of the month, the CAT will publish its concluding observations and recommendations which will represent a road-map for Kenyan authorities in order to take further steps to effectively comply with their international obligations under the Convention against Torture.