Kenya: Thousands of rape and sexual and gender-based crimes from post election go unpunished

Amnesty International has condemned the failure of Kenya’s government to investigate crimes committed during the 2007-2008 post-election violence including tens of thousands cases of rape sexual and gender-based violence in a new report published today. 

 

Many rapes have gone unreported and there are some estimates that as many as 40,000 incidents of sexual and gender-based violence linked to the post-election violence took place in the first few months of 2008, far higher than the 900 cases reported to the Waki Commission. 

 

One woman said she had been attacked by men wielding machetes in Mathare. As she was fleeing a police officer stopped his car and picked her up. Rather than offering help, the officer took her to his home and raped her. She is now living with HIV and she has given up on attempts to report the policeman, who is stationed nearby. 

 

Other victims told Amnesty that they did not report assaults to the police for fear of reprisal attacks those committing the violence, or abuse from the police.  Some said they were asked for money or threatened with being implicated in some of the crimes when they attempted to report cases to the police. 

 

Amnesty also found many Kenyans who have survived the violence are disillusioned with, and excluded from, the justice system and frustrated that perpetrators are still at large. One man told Amnesty, “I know the people who took my property in Kericho. Our children were raped and we know who raped them.”

 

Kenya’s Director of Public Prosecutions recently stated that there was not sufficient evidence to proceed with any of the 4,000 cases on file. 

 

Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty said

 

“Six years after post-election violence rocked Kenya, victims are still awaiting justice. It is vital that their voices are heard and urgent action is taken. 

 

“Many of the displaced have yet to be resettled or compensated, many of the injured or the families of those killed have yet to receive reparation to help rebuild their shattered lives and most of the perpetrators have yet to face justice.” 

 

Amnesty’s Regional Director Muthoni Wanyeki added: 

 

“Justice delayed is justice denied and the victims of Kenya’s post-election violence have waited long enough to see justice.  In the past both the Kenyan government and parliament have consistently obstructed efforts to investigate and prosecute those suspected of committing crimes under international law. It is time to end impunity, to provide reparation for those who have suffered and to finally bring this shameful chapter in our history to a close.” 

 

Background information

 

Despite Kenya’s failure to address fully the needs of hundreds of thousands of victims of the post-election violence the report nonetheless finds that there remains potential to rebuild confidence in the justice system. Amnesty International is calling for:

  • the establishment of the Committee for the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission;
  • greater protection of victims, witnesses and human rights defenders working on post-election violence and advocating for justice, truth and reparation;
  • further investigations into the 4,000 case files that the DPP reportedly stated lack sufficient evidence;
  • consultation with civil society on the establishment of the International Crimes Division of the High Court to ensure its independence and legitimacy;
  • the establishment of a reparation programme to address the harm suffered by victims of post-election violence;
  • the Kenyan government’s full cooperation with the ICC; and 
  • an end to political efforts at the African Union to halt the ICC’s investigations and prosecutions in Kenya. 

Victims who met with Amnesty were from some of the worst affected areas of the post-election violence: Nairobi, Naivasha and Nakuru (Central Rift Valley), Eldoret (West Rift Valley), Kericho (South Rift Valley), Kisumu and Kisii (Nyanza). They included internally displaced persons, victims of police shootings or their relatives, survivors of rape and victims beaten by groups of men, some of whom were suspected to be from the criminal gang and political militia known as Mungiki. 

View latest press releases