Uphold Mandatory Minimum Sentencing for Sexual Offences in Kenya

Uphold Mandatory Minimum Sentencing for Sexual Offences in Kenya

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Winnie Odali started this petition

A 6-year old girl was defiled, murdered and buried in a shallow grave in Kakamega. A mother of 3 who sells bananas to fend for her children was waylaid on her way back home and gang-raped by the men who live in her neighbourhood. A 12-year old girl cannot report the fact that her father defiles her every day for fear of repercussions and breaking the family. A young woman was raped by a boda boda rider who was ferrying her home. This is not even a tip of the iceberg on the massive bog that is sexual offences. Every day, there are news reports on sexual offences of one nature or another. In 2021, 9,484 children were defiled. This translates to about 25 children being defiled every day.

Despite the veracity and inhumaneness of these acts, the Machakos High Court, the Mombasa High Court and the Court of Appeal in Nyeri recently declared that mandatory minimum sentences for sexual offences are unconstitutional. These judgments not only failed to take a survivor-centered approach but also grant judicial officers unfettered discretion to issue sentences for sexual offences. This has resulted in numerous applications for resentencing by convicts in courts countrywide. It rolls back on the gains made by women rights movements over the years to ensure that gender-based violence is treated with the urgency and seriousness it deserves. It will also embolden perpetrators who will no longer be deterred by the law.

The Judiciary has a due diligence obligation to protect survivors, punish perpetrators of sexual violence and ensure that survivors obtain their right to remedy that is effective and commensurate with the gravity of the sexual offence committed. CREAW and other partners will hold a processional walk on 9th December 2022 at 9 am from Central Park to the Office of the Chief Justice to present a petition demanding that the Judiciary fulfils its due diligence obligations to survivors of sexual violence by upholding mandatory minimum sentences for sexual offences.   

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