In 2017, IMLU recorded 152 cases of extrajudicial execution in Kenya bringing the total to 764 since 2013. Being one of the most reliable voices on torture and extrajudicial execution cases in the country, IMLU was invited to the Forum Syd Conference at the Kenya National Theatre from 31st January- 1st February 2018 with the theme being Extrajudicial Execution.
IMLU’s work revolves around ensuring that victims of torture and their families receive psychological support both at individual and group level. Working with families of victims of torture and survivors is not an easy task. Having to walk the journey of recounting painful, dehumanizing and degrading memories of torture in the hands of the government invokes a hunger and drive to keep fighting for the rights of those whose dignity and respect is tattered by being subjected to terrible acts of physical and psychological torture.
IMLU has been a member of the IRCT for many years, and has curved its niche in Kenya as the pioneer organization supporting victims of torture. We support an average of 500 victims of torture (this includes families who lose their loved ones through extra judicial executions & enforced disappearances) annually. Out of these 25% of the registered cases proceed to court. IMLU works with a network of professionals who provide critical documentation of torture and ill treatment in legal proceedings. These evaluations and subsequent documentation takes place in various counties in the country.
The purpose of the medical and psychological evaluation is to provide expert opinion on the degree to which findings correlate with the alleged victim’s allegation of torture and to effectively communicate the clinician’s findings and interpretations to the judiciary or other appropriate authorities. It is therefore key that clinical documentation is done diligently and in a clear and concise manner, to ensure that justice is served. One of the challenges we have constantly had to tackle every so often, is that there is a lot of fear and sometimes little (if any) co-operation from victims when reporting cases of torture. This emanates from intimidation (and repercussions of reporting) by perpetrators.
Perpetrators also put forward fabricated charges which piles on to the victims’ fear and anxiety. This therefore this means that clients (facing intimidation) often times choose not to follow through with their appointments for statement recording or to complete intake for legal and sometimes psychological support-greatly hampering the process of documentation which plays a critical role in pursuing justice for victims. This has caused us to be very intentional in involving clients throughout the process from intake, during service provision until the client is exited from active medical support and counseling; that way, they understand the critical role their information (which is documented) plays in allowing them to access justice. Having noted the very glaring challenge threats and intimidation pose, as well as how tedious the process of documentation can be, IMLU developed a database system which was officially launched in 2015. The database system is in such a way that its use goes beyond data entry, to managing individual and group calendars and diaries, that way, those who do not on a daily basis engage with client information/data entry, still find it useful. The system has been instrumental in generating reports at the click of a button, something which was previously done painstakingly on paper/manually.
Our work in clinical documentation has significantly been made easier. Beyond clinical documentation, our data collection as the leading organization in the sector, in providing national data on Extra Judicial Executions has also been exemplarily done through the support of not only staff, but also the network of professionals with whom we work. It is obvious that the state has an obligation to document acts of torture and to investigate with a view of prosecuting those responsible. However, the state often fails to independently and consistently do so. It is therefore paramount that IMLU, together with other players in the sector tirelessly endeavor to collect and document data on these critical issues of human rights violations.
Through the support of the IRCT and the Hilton Coalition IMLU has had numerous opportunities to travel to many countries including South Africa, Mexico, among many others, where we have met colleagues from various organizations, who are also in this area of work, and do also collect and collate data on torture and violence. Sharing our experiences and how the data collection systems have and continue to be of great value in not only making work easier but also holding duty bearers to account. We will continue documenting cases of torture violence and discrimination in a bid to contribute to the fight against torture.
As one of the key pillars of IMLU's Vision 2021, the organisation supported the 2018 All Kenya Moot Court Competition held at Kenyatta University's Law Campus, Parklands. This year's theme was 'Striking the Balance Between Respect for Human Rights and Maintaining National Security'.
The Kenyatta University- School of Law has for the last four years hosted the annual All Kenyan Moot court competition (AKMCC). The competition involves 12 accredited faculties of law in Kenyan Universities.
On 23rd and 24th March 2018, the 6th edition of the All Kenyan Moot Court Competition went down under with IMLU being honoured for having supported the competition being expertise of the thematic areas. The event was graced by the outgoing AG. Githu Muigai and Hon. Justice Kimaru among other invited guests.
The meticulous research and written submission done by the competitors brought out key issues and in the process created wide awareness of the laws relating to extra judicial killings as it relates to international human rights protection.
The arguments advanced by the competitors brought out the challenges experienced in an effort to curb extra judicial killings such us, ineffective investigations and prosecutions of suspected police officers.
Kabarak university competitors emerged winners of the AKMCC 2018.
Every year, IMLU holds an end-year evaluation retreat that focuses on the year's challenges, successes and plan for the following year. In 2017, IMLU held its end-year retreat at the Maasai Lodge in Rongai from 11th to 16th December.
To generate at least ten (10) research products and proactively use such strategic information to prevent and respond to torture, violence and discrimination by 2021
Key Strategies / Interventions
- Expand the scope of research to cover IMLU’s mandate in totality generating at least 10 research products
- Undertaking periodic torture survey every 5 years to inform programming and advocacy
- Research partnerships with academic, government agencies, renowned research institutional, associates and other professional bodies
- Develop IMLU’s internal research generation, utilization and dissemination capacity e.g. instituting a research desk / department
- IMLU’s resource center for operational, strategic and academic research
To nurture social capital and active use of at least eight (8) strategic alliances for the prevention of torture, violence and discrimination by 2018
Key Strategies / Broad Interventions:
- Enhanced engagements with IMLU’s networks of professionals (lawyers, doctors, journalists, human rights promoters, counsellors and paralegals, among others)
- Continuous building of social capital through capacity building
- Structured engagements with other key actors (CBOs, NGOs, youths, academic institutions, professional bodies) at the national, regional and international levels
- Strategic physical presence and positioning in select counties across Kenya
- Building a constituency of survivors and families
- Media advocacy to enhance IMLU’s visibility at the county, national and international levels
To improve access and utilization of holistic redress and rehabilitation services for at least 6,000 survivors of torture, violence and discrimination by 2021 Key Strategies / Broad Interventions:
- Direct and holistic service provision to survivors (medical, legal, psychological and structured referrals for socio-economic empowerment)
- Promoting partnerships and networks for routine and urgent services
- Referrals for provision of services
- Enhance protection of witnesses, victims and HRDs
- Awareness and sensitization of survivors and general public e.g. use of IEC materials, media and community outreaches