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ICTJ | PRESS RELEASE: Decision in Mau Mau Case Strengthens the Right to Reparations of All Victims of Torture

10/9/12 8:31 AM

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ICTJ: Decision in Mau Mau Case Strengthens the Right to Reparations of All Victims of Torture

Decision in Mau Mau Case Strengthens the Right to Reparations of All Victims of Torture
New York, 5 October 2012- The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) strongly welcomes the decision of the UK High Court ordering the British government to pay damages to a group of Kenyans who were imprisoned and tortured by colonial authorities following the Mau Mau Rebellion of the 1950s. “The UK has the opportunity to set right an old injustice, as well as the possibility of strengthening the right to remedy and reparations that continue to be relevant in the present,” said David Tolbert, president of ICTJ. “The British Government should embrace the opportunity to make meaningful reparations not only to the individual claimants but to the hundreds of other surviving victims who are also likely to seek damages before the courts.” The lawyers representing the UK government accepted that the three plaintiffs were tortured by the colonial authorities. While imprisoned, they suffered what their lawyers described as "unspeakable acts of brutality," including castration, beatings, and severe sexual assaults. “Any settlement with the victims in this case should focus on the recognition of the individual and collective suffering inflicted upon Mau Mau veterans, including those who have passed away,” said Ruben Carranza, director of ICTJ’s Reparative Justice Program. In addition to redressing the suffering endured by Mau Mau veterans, the decision will help address the marginalization and ostracism that they endured. “The UK High Court’s decision is a real opportunity to set an example for other states on how to deal with legacies of massive human rights abuses arising from colonial and occupation-related conflict,” said Carranza. In a 2010 ICTJ report, “To Live as Other Kenyans Do,” the interviewed veterans of the Mau Mau insurgency felt that their story had “never been told,” and sought to ensure that their experiences were recorded before it was too late for the old people involved. They pointed out that “not only has the Mau Mau story not been told, but the organization remained formally illegal until 2003. While veterans also seek support to counter the poverty experienced by many Kenyan victims of other periods, seeing their story told in Kenya’s schools is a priority, as is seeing the

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ICTJ | PRESS RELEASE: Decision in Mau Mau Case Strengthens the Right to Reparations of All Victims of Torture

10/9/12 8:31 AM

heroes of that resistance celebrated. The first ’Heroes’ Day’ in 2010 was a start, but it remains insufficient for those who fought.” About ICTJ ICTJ assists societies confronting massive human rights abuses to promote accountability, pursue truth, provide reparations, and build trustworthy institutions. Committed to the vindication of victims’ rights and the promotion of gender justice, we provide expert technical advice, policy analysis, and comparative research on transitional justice measures, including criminal prosecutions, reparations initiatives, truth seeking, memorialization efforts, and institutional reform. For more information, visit www.ictj.org. Contact Refik Hodzic, New York Office +1 917 637 3853 Cell +1 917 975 2286 rhodzic@ictj.org

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