The European Union (EU) has committed to continue supporting judicial sector actors to enhance equality in access to justice in the country.
Through the Program for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery in Kenya (PLEAD), which was launched in March 2018, the EU targets to support the poor and vulnerable to access justice.
EU Acting Head of Delegation to Kenya, Katrin Hagemann, said through various partnerships, the EU has channeled Sh. 4.2 billion into the program which comes to an end in 2024.
Speaking, during the launch of the program for Kisumu County, Hagemann said the initiative which is also being implemented in Nairobi, Mombasa Wajir, Mandera, Lamu, Tana River, Garissa, Marsabit, Isiolo, Uasin Gishu and Nakuru and is set to restore public confidence in the judicial system.
“We are targeting the poor cities and remote areas to support them through legal aid to get justice. Our goal is to enhance access to justice to restore public confidence in the judicial system,” she said.
National Legal Aid Service (NLAS) Acting Chief Executive Officer, Flora Bidali, said through the program, court users associations have been trained on how to point out the gaps in access to justice.
Grassroots leaders and elders, she added, are also being engaged to equip them with the requisite skills to address existing concerns in the judicial system.
Bidali added that NLAS was working closely with the police to expedite investigations for justice to be served.
She pointed out the upsurge in rape and defilement cases saying NLAS has engaged the national police service to fast rack investigations to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.
The minors, she said, are being supported by NLAS and partners to ensure that they get justice.
At the Kisumu Children Remand Home, County Director of Children Services, Humphrey Wandeo, said the program has assisted children who hitherto could not afford legal representation to access justice.
The Department, he added, continued to grapple with children whose cases have dragged in court for years.
“We have children under our care whose cases have taken too long to be concluded. We are happy that through UNDP which is being supported by the EU a number of these children have had their cases heard and determined,” he said.
By Chris Mahandara