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Children Service Month launched at the Tononoka Law Courts

Mombasa residents with cases involving violation of children’s rights have been asked to take advantage of this National Children Service month and avail evidence for the courts to address children cases.

Speaking during the launch of children service month, High Court of Kenya-Family Division Judge Gregory Mutai said the judiciary is keen on determining and fast-tracking all cases involving children for the whole of November.

Mutai noted that they have a strategic focus on transforming the justice system into one that prioritizes the needs and well-being of the people of Kenya, especially the children.

“November is a very special month for us in the Judiciary. The Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court Martha Koome declared the month of November a National Children Service Month in all court stations in order to fast-track all cases involving children in the criminal justice system, children cases and those who are victims of crime,” he said.

The theme of this year’s children service month is “A child-centred justice system, places the victim at the center, ensuring their needs and well-being are given utmost importance.

 “The vision behind the Children Service Month is closely aligned with the key areas outlined in the Social Transformation through Access Justice (STAJ) vision of the Chief Justice, specifically emphasizing the provision of justice for marginalized and vulnerable individuals,” he added.

Justice Mutai said the judiciary also aims to create a more inclusive justice system by upholding the dignity and rights of all Kenyans, particularly victims of child abuse.

He asked stakeholders involved in children welfare to work closely with the judiciary to help the courts in administering justice to children whose rights have been violated.

The High Court Judge noted that although the statutory limit set for clearing of children cases is three months, the school calendar for the children has posed a challenge as cases drug in court for much longer while children are in school.

“Other civil cases concerning children will be settled expeditiously through court-annexed mediation. We intend to employ Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms like diversion in criminal cases by working with the Office of Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP),” said Mutai.

Senior Member on Children Affairs Topister Juma said that they work closely with children’s offices and courts in sensitizing parents whose children have been violated to come out and seek justice.

Juma said that there is still a challenge as many cases are not reported, thus the need for sensitization on the importance of addressing injustice in children.

“Most people in the grassroots are not aware that this month is a children service month. We request for those whose cases are pending to come out and present evidence for the cases to be addressed,” she said.

By Chari Suche

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