The National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) yesterday held a one-day orientation training on National Legal Aid Service for the Marsabit Court Users Committee members.
The national chairperson of the Court Users Committees Mr Abdulqadir Lorot said there was need to address the rise in Gender-Based Violence through enhanced judicial reforms where the poor are assisted to access justice among pastoralist communities.
Mr Lorot said during the training held at Nomads hotel in Marsabit town that with the assistance of Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery in Kenya (PLEAD), the judiciary plans to offer legal aid to the vulnerable in society and urged for increased women membership in the CUCs.
This, he said would enhance representation and justice to victims of the gender related crime like battering, rape and defilement.
“The state of limiting access to constitutional and human rights cannot be allowed to continue forever hence the mechanism to offer legal aid to the deprived,” he said adding Legal Aid Act 2016 was being fast-tracked.
According to Lorot, the inclusion of women in the justice dispensation system by enabling them access paralegal services would help in finding a solution to the endemic ethnic conflicts that are perpetuated by men through cattle rustling.
Provision of legal aid services to the poor also aims at hastening the inheritance processes as opposed to the current situation where only the privileged in society are able to source and pay for legal services.
The act stipulates that qualified persons were entitled to education on the right of access to legal services which range from legal advice to legal representation.
Lolot said it was expected that the programme would improve on the access to birth rights, property rights besides supporting the family law for women and children that are rarely given attention among pastoralist communities.
Under the Programme, over 20 paralegals would be trained in Marsabit County to facilitate access to universal justice services in the region.
Speaking at the forum, Marsabit County Kadhi Ibrahim Tullu also said that availability of legal aid services to the poor members of the pastoralist communities would help in averting revenge attacks during conflicts that are fueled by lack of information on the correct way for legal redress.
Tullu while decrying the high rate of divorce cases especially among the youth in Marsabit County said availability to the legal aid services would greatly help in bringing down the high number which stands at 40 per cent.
“The divorce rate has risen from 10 to 40 per cent between 2019 and 2021, where out of 120 cases filed about twenty involved young couples,” he said.
The European Union is funding the project to the tune of Sh335 million to enhance universal access to justice in 12 counties in the country including Wajir, Tana River, Isiolo and informal settlements of Mombasa and Nairobi.
By Sebastian Miriti