, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 5 – The British government on Friday expressed its disappointment following a court ruling that allowed three Mau Mau veterans to sue the UK for crimes committed during the colonial era.
The head of communications at the British High Commission in Nairobi, John Bradshaw, says Britain was unhappy that the case is for offences dating back over 50 years, contrary to the limit of between three to six years allowed when filing civil action.
“The British Government is disappointed with today’s judgment on the Mau Mau case. The judgment was not a finding of liability but a procedural decision following a preliminary hearing on limitation, which allows the cases to go to a full trial. The judgement has potentially significant and far reaching legal implications. The normal time limit for bringing a civil action is three to six years. In this case, that period has been extended to over 50 years despite the fact that the key decision makers are dead and unable to give their account of what happened,” Bradshaw indicated.
He further said that the British government was in agreement that the Mau Mau fighters were tortured by the colonialists giving them the go ahead to take legal action against the government.
“We do not dispute that each of the claimants in this case suffered torture and other ill treatment at the hands of the colonial administration. We have always said that we understand the pain and grievance felt by those, on all sides, who were involved in the divisive and bloody events of the emergency period in Kenya, and it is right that those who feel they have a case are free to take it to the courts,” his statement read.
He added: “Since this is an important legal issue, we have taken the decision to appeal.”