Will The Recently Launched SGBV Court Help Kenyan Victims Get Justice?

The Chief Justice of Kenya recently launched the country’s first Sexual and Gender-Based Violence court in Shanzu Law Courts, Mombasa.

This move has been praised by many, although it took a long time to happen. In her speech, Chief Justice said the plans were already underway even before the viral video of the female motorist attacked by Boda Boda operators. The courts were finally launched after sustained requests from women judges, magistrates, advocates, and rights groups who have more than 500,000 SGBV cases pending.

We all know it is not easy to come out and report sexual and gender-based crimes, which refers to any harmful act that is perpetrated against one’s will and is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between males and females. SGBV include acts that inflict physical, mental, or sexual harm or suffering; threats of such acts, coercion, and other deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. As citizens, we need to show more care and understanding to the victims, the media has a key role to play, and more importantly medical facilities as well as the police and other administrative offices.

Chief Justice Koome’s New Directives

The Chief Justice said that the courts would help preserve the dignity of the victims and enhance fair trials within the bounds of the Constitution. The Special Courts are a much-needed department that will help guarantee access to justice for victims of Sexual Gender-Based Violence who have often lamented that their rights are denied due to settlements out of court.

Chief Justice Martha Koome, therefore, directed the Judiciary not to postpone any Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) cases.

“When it comes to SGBV cases, courts are hereby directed to implement the ‘no adjournment policy’,” she said during the launching of SGBV Shanzu Law Courts in Mombasa.

This would mean that the SGBV victims would be guaranteed a shorter healing process and that the provided evidence would not be compromised there won’t be any options for an out-of-court settlement.

“This is an amazing start. Every county should have such courts so that justice for victims is not delayed,” replied a Kenyan on Twitter.

“Guys, I hope gender does not only mean female?” asked another social media respondent.

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