Second UK Mau Mau case to start in 2016
The 40,000 Kenyans seeking damages from the British government for atrocities meted out on them during the colonial period will have to wait for at least a year before the case starts.
A High Court in London has ruled that the case will be heard over six-month period, starting May 5 to November, 2016.
In a press briefing yesterday, the victims' lawyer Freddie Cosgrove-Gibson said the Mau Mau group decided to move to court after the UK's Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) expressed little interest in settling the matter out of court as it did with the previous group that was awarded about $211.5 million in 2013.
"It is disappointing that justice is being delayed for so long for the people of Kenya. FCO has shown no interest in starting any negotiations despite settling similar claims under the Leigh Day settlement two years ago," Mr Cosgrove said.
In the proceedings, the court will take 25 individual cases as samples in determining the type of claims to register with the court.
Mr Cosgrove said the 25 will be selected randomly from 40 cases. Individuals selected will be informed and given an opportunity to give evidence before court.
Locally, the group is being represented by Miller and Co. Advocates.
Lawyer Cecil Miller said the firm is representing the victims free of charge, and no money would be claimed from them even if the case goes through. "We have been doing interviews across the country at no charges.
There are people claiming money for registration but for the people we have in our register, there is absolutely nothing that has been charged," he said.
Mr Miller said his firm will push for a dialogue with the UK representative so as to have the case dealt with quickly as the victims are elderly.
"We hope the matter will be dealt with quickly," he said. The case seeks to compel the British Government to pay for torture, forced labour and wrongful detention of Mau Mau members.
This article was published by THE STANDARD on January 22, 2015