Coming up for hearing: on 27th September 2021.
Reference filed: 11th September 2018.
Articles: 6(d), 7(2) and 8(1) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (EAC).
Rules: 21 (1) of the East African Court of Justice Rules of Procedure, 2019.
Subject matter: Eviction from Mau Forest.
The Applicant brings this action in his private capacity and on behalf of minors evicted from Mau Forest between June to August 2018 while the Respondent is the Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya sued on behalf of the respective Government.
Applicant alleges that, in June 2018 the Government of the Republic of Kenya through its officers forcibly evicted thousands of occupants and minors from their homes in farms adjacent to Mau Forest in a cruel, horrifying, traumatizing and inhumane manner, with disregard for due process of law and principles of good governance. Women were raped by the officers of the Respondent, sometimes in front of their children and husbands, and men tortured in front of their families and forced to burn their own houses.
Further alleges, the Respondent destroyed by burning minors’ parents’ homes, occasioning massive loss of victim’s properties without compensation, chased the population from their homes by threatening to shoot them if they remain. The eviction caused more than 5000 minors to be out of schools, victims evicted from their ancestral homes and farms and are now squatting in temporary camps which are overcrowded, without adequate food, shelter, sanitation, medical care and education. It is the Applicant case that, Respondent has not mitigated the circumstance by establishing schools or any other meaningful measures.
The Respondent denies all the allegations and pleads the Reference discloses no cause of action against the Republic of Kenya or its officers and facts pleaded by the Applicant are not only unfounded but also do not constitute any of the matters contemplated under Article 30(1) of the Treaty. Denies that the Government of Kenya through its security organs carried out the alleged forceful evictions, rape, physical torture, destructions of property and homes, violated rights of children and acted contrary to the due process of law and in contravention of the Treaty.
The Respondent averts that, this Court lack jurisdiction on criminal issues raised by the Applicant and no reported incidents made to the local authorities on the alleged criminal offences. Further, there is an existing dispute pending before the Environment and Land Court of Kenya at Narok over the Applicant’s encroachment into the Masai Mau Forest Reserve which is a vital water tower and issues raised by the Applicant herein are being litigated.
The Respondent contends to have followed due process of law to remove illegal encroachments into the forest to contain destruction and no eviction done on land adjacent to the forest as alleged. Process was carried out in a human and lawful manner following public consultations and adequate notices issued beforehand which were obeyed by the evictees who returned to their original homes and not residing in any displaced camps.
Further states, after the evictions, unrelated clashes emerged in some parts of Narok and Nakuru Counties were people got affected including students and minors and the Government resorted to secure peace, provided alternative schools and examination centers for affected pupils. Therefore, the Respondent is not in breach of the Treaty, Reference is unfounded as the Applicant has not exhausted local remedies, an abuse of Court process by filing multiple suits and prays for dismissal of the Reference with costs.
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