BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,28TH JULY,2022-The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) has developed a Rapid Reference Guide for prosecutors to expedite cases of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) after next month’s election.
Director Noordin Haji said the guide will be critical in providing an easily accessible resource for the prosecutors to facilitate a coherent, expeditious, and efficient prosecution of the cases.
“Women and children must have the right to enjoy their freedom. And women also have the right to participate in elections in a peaceful, free and fair environment that safeguards them and assures them of the right to exercise their civil duty,” Haji said on Thursday during the launch of the guidelines.
Haji disclosed that his office will be working closely with the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), the Witness Protection Agency, and the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) for the effective implementation of the guidelines.
“Sexual and gender-based violence continues to pose a clear and present danger to fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms,” he said.
He put offenders of the vice on notice noting that if caught they will be dealt with accordingly.
“Those who think that they will be able to commit those offenses should know that we will have the date to follow up in real-time,” he said.
In the 2017 General Election, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) documented 201 cases of gender-based violence against women which included gang rape.
The Commission of Inquiry into the 2007 -2008 Post-Election Violence (CIPEV) documented 900 cases of sexual violence perpetrated by security agents, militia groups, and civilians against women, girls, men, and boys in a context of large-scale violence and mass displacement, as well as more than 1,000 deaths.
According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey Report 2014, 45 percent of women 15-49 years of age have experienced physical violence, while 39 percent of married women have experienced physical or sexual violence.
The prosecution of SGBV cases in the country according to Physicians for Human Rights remains relatively low in the country and this has been attributed to the failure of prosecutors to present sufficient substantiating evidence in court and to improve the collection and preservation of forensic evidence.