NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 30 – A court in the United Kingdom has dismissed two cases by over 40,000 Mau Mau fighters arguing it was filed late from when the alleged atrocities were committed.
In the ruling, the court noted that the cases cannot be adjudicated fairly over 50 years after Kenya attained independence, since it’s far too long for a true picture of the atrocities to be captured and ascertained.
The UK Court of Appeal also stopped attempts by the claimants’ lawyers – a consortium of Tandem Law and Kenyan lawyer Cecil Miller – to appeal the ruling, despite their arguments that the court’s approach was defective.
During the trial that lasted more than four years, over 45,000 documents from the time of the State of Emergency were disclosed in the litigation while parties utilised an electronic trial bundle which contained over 20,000 contemporaneous documents.
The lawyers say the drastic ruling was made despite evidence that there was a deliberate strategy to avoid investigation of abuses during the State of Emergency in Kenya between 1952 and 1959, despite such abuses being widely known at a high level of the British Government.
Further, they argued the British Government failed to prosecute the abuses at the time.
The claimants’ lawyers said they are “devastated by the unsuccessful conclusion of the case. They worked strenuously and tirelessly on behalf of their clients. ”
“As individuals, we share the distress and anguish of our clients and reflect on the wisdom of an African proverb; The axe forgets but the tree remembers.”
They went ahead to say, “The memory of the abuses will live on with the claimants for the remainder of their lives and will continue to be remembered by the children and descendants of those who suffered. The British Government never made any offer to pay compensation to any claimant in this litigation.”