By Godfrey Olukya 5-10-2012
High court in London has today ruled in favor of Mau Mau veterans who want to be compensated by the British government for brutality meted on them during colonial days.
Many Mau Mau fighters were killed by British soldiers in 1950’s as they fought for independence. A good number were tortured in prisons.
Recently they petitioned London high court seeking compensation. The British government requested court to drop the petition saying the petition was technically impossible due 50 years time lapse yet the law says civil action should be filed within 6 years.
But today, London’s High Court has allowed Mau Mau’s compensation case
against the British government to proceed despite a 50 year time lapse. The court has said the case will go to full trial.
Presiding judge, McCombe reportedly ruled that ‘A fair trial on this part of the case does remain possible and that the evidence on both sides remains significantly cogent for the Court to complete its task satisfactorily.
The few Mau Mau veterans still living and the relatives of those who have died celebrated in different parts of Kenya on hearing the court’s decision.
80 yr old Thomas Kirui said, ‘I am happy over the court decision. Even if we were tortured over 50 years ago, we deserve compensation.’
The British government has been disappointed by the court ruling and said it was to appeal against it.
A statement released by the British government said, ‘We are disappointed with today’s judgment. The judgment was not a finding of liability but a procedural decision following a preliminary hearing on limitation, which allows the cases to go to a full trial.
The statement added that the judgement has potentially significant and far reaching legal implications. The normal time limit for bringing a civil action is 3 to 6 years. In this case, that period has been extended to over 50 years despite the fact that the key decision makers are dead and unable to give their account of what happened.