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Judiciary Determined to Address Criminal Justice in Courts

The  National Committee on Criminal Justice (NCAJ) will use the findings and recommendations of a Taskforce report to address the victimization of Intersex persons in society.

The  Chief Justice (CJ),  David  Maraga said NCAJ has acknowledged that some vulnerable groups such as intersex are susceptible to gender based violence as they are considered incapable of integrating properly in society.

He said according to the Taskforce on Policy, Legal, Institutional and Administrative Reforms 2018 report on Intersex Persons in Kenya, intersex persons face  mutilation, infanticide, abandonment and stigmatization.

“They are liable to victimization not only by society but also within our criminal justice system, which is making a large number drop out of school because they do not fit into either girls’ or boys’ schools,” noted Maraga.

He said NCAJ through formation of specific taskforces will address the concerns of the vulnerable groups in the light of any gaps in law, policy and administration procedures that occur in the criminal justice system.

The  CJ  was speaking today during the Kenya-Spain peer learning seminar on the Criminal Justice System on Gender Based Violence at a Nairobi hotel.

The  two-day seminar whose theme is ‘Enhancing access to justice in addressing gender-based violence’ said within the criminal justice system, intersex persons have suffered intrusive searches and confinement with male or female inmates, exposing them to further sexual harassment.

He said the judiciary is developing appropriate jurisprudence to address the issue of criminalizing sexual acts amongst teenagers and the lowering of age of consent regarding sexual offences.

Maraga said there is need to empower both men and women in order to minimize GBV abuses, noting that violence is deeply rooted in the socio-economic and political context, adding that most abuses are fuelled by inequitable and improper socialization.

“We must increase awareness on GBV among community members so that they are able to quickly recognize its various forms and causes and appropriate responses whenever they are confronted with it,” he said.

The  Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender (CS), Prof. Margaret  Kobia assured Kenyans of the government’s commitment in supporting criminal justice system to end Gender Based Violence in the Country (GBV).

She  said even though there are many gaps and challenges relating to GBV due to social cultural beliefs, the fight against gender based violence will remains one of the pillars in promoting Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.

“The government’s interventions against the vice will include the development of policies, capacity building, establishment of Gender Based Violence recovery/safe centres and a hot line,” said the CS.

She thanked the Embassy of Spain and European Union Delegation in Kenya, for hosting the event, to provide an opportunity for criminal justice system peers and anti-GBV stakeholders from Kenya and Spain to share and cross-learn best practices in prevention, processing, prosecution and adjudication of GBV and human trafficking crimes.

Prof. Kobia said her ministry which is mandated to coordinate the implementation of gender programmes in the country will continue to mainstream gender national development processes, coordinate gender responsive socio-economic empowerment programs.

“We will also champion the safety and security of women and girls, men and boys from gender based violations,” she added.

She at the same time noted that the government will continue to recognize the health and wellbeing, education, participation in Labour, experiences of inequality, as  well as building peaceful, just and strong institutions.

The CS said the seminar should serve as an effective forum to share experiences and best practice in handling GBV cases, including human trafficking.

“From the Spanish policy model, we hope to strengthen Kenya’s referral systems, and improve the criminal justice system for enhanced access to justice for GBV  survivors,” she added.

She commended the duty bearers in the Criminal Justice System from Kenya and Spain, Judiciary, office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Police Service for engaging in GBV matters.

Speaking  at the event, the European Union Ambassador to Kenya, Stefano-Antonio Dejak said EU is greatly concerned with the fundamental value of human dignity, and views violence such as rape as the most extreme incidence that threatens human dignity.

“Rape  is a weapon of war seen in War, and can be seen in South Sudan, it is a horrific reality that changes a person forever, ruining their dignity forever,” he said.

He said no society can be declared fully developed until women take their rightful place in society, saying the two-thirds Gender Bill rejection could make many women despair.

“Kenya is a reliable international partner and EU will help the country to advance its women,” he added.

The  Spanish Ambassador to Kenya, Javier Garcia de Viedma said gender based violence is unacceptable scourge that brings shame to those affected and urged all individuals to take responsibility in combating all forms of GBV.

He said GBV goes beyond national borders to international borders as its effects causes distress to women.

Present at the event were the Principal Secretary State Department of Gender, Safina Kwekwe and Dr. Ruth Kagia, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Policy and Strategy Executive from the office of the Presidenty.

By  Bernadette  Khaduli

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