Home > Counties > CJ Koome unveils SGBV courts in the Lake Region

CJ Koome unveils SGBV courts in the Lake Region

Chief Justice Martha Koome has commissioned two specialized courts that deal with Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) cases in Kisumu and Siaya counties.

This brings the number of SGBV courts in the country to three after a pioneer programme was launched at the Shanzu Law Courts in Mombasa in March 2022.

Speaking at the Kisumu law courts on Friday, CJ Koome decried that violence against women, girls, and even men is a global pandemic that required urgent intervention to safeguard the rights of the victims.

The Chief Justice called on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), justice actors, and stakeholders in the judicial system to lead public sensitization programmes to enhance awareness of SGBV and its implications.

“This is a problem we can say no to as a society by embracing the value of respecting one another so that we don’t see young girls or women in our midst as sexual objects but view them as human beings whose rights need to be protected and not violated. So let’s embrace campaigns to sensitize people to stay away from SGBV,” stated Koome.

The President of the Supreme Court of Kenya affirmed the Judiciary’s commitment to safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized people to access justice.

Establishing SGBV courts, stated the Chief Justice, marks a significant milestone in addressing the offenses with urgency, sensitivity and handling the victims as well as the survivors with confidentiality.

The initiative was welcomed by the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA), the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), the Court Users Committee, CSOs, and Plan International Kenya, among other agencies.

The International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) Kenya Chapter President, Lady Justice Agnes Murgor, while speaking at the same event, said that the establishment of SGBV courts was timely and would revolutionize the criminal justice system hinged on preserving the dignity of victims and enhancing a fair trial.

Kisumu CSOs network team leader, Betty Okero, said that the organizations celebrated the milestone attained and called for collaboration to smooth the operationalization of the SGBV courts.

Out of all criminal cases reported in Kenya, Murgor stated that 3.5% are SGBV, while in Kisumu County it is 4.8% of all the criminal cases reported. Kisumu, Siaya, and Mombasa counties ranked highest in the number of SGBV cases recorded in the past year.

During the same event, Chief Justice Koome also designated a Small Claims Court (SCC) in Kisumu County. The SCC ensures the speedy resolution of commercial disputes of values less than Sh1 million within 60 days.

“This will enable our entrepreneurs to focus on what they do best: innovating, creating jobs, and driving economic growth. It is a critical cog in our drive to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and to spur economic growth in Kisumu County and beyond,” Koome stated.

Further, the Chief Justice witnessed the inception of the automation of court services in Kisumu, Siaya, and Homa Bay counties, aimed at enhancing accessibility and efficiency within the justice system.

“No longer will our people be hindered by geographical constraints or the burden of time-consuming journeys to physically submit pleadings and legal documents to courts,” stated Koome.

The e-filing process, she added, is straightforward, easy, and operates for 24 hours, ensuring that justice remains within everyone’s reach.

By Robert Ojwang’ and Movine Achieng

Leave a Reply