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lrf

LRF has in the last 27yrs established itself in innovations to sustain legal inclusion and access to justice through interventions that premier access to justice as an approach and tool for improved human rights for victims of systemic exclusion.

Our strategic interventions are anchored on: ·         Practical advocacy, ·  Policy negotiations, ·         Stakeholder strategic positioning, ·         Legal aid and legal education, ·         Community organization, ·         Mentorship and coaching, ·         Select topical and issue specific media engagement, ·   Research and evidence building.

Our actions are grounded on Sustainable Development Goals: 3, 5 10, 15 and 16 for which we endeavor to ensure that no one is left behind in legal discourses. We hold the view that access to justice must transcend race, gender, religion, faith, ethnicity and geographical misconceptions.

In the context of the Vision 2030 and Africa’s Vision 2063, LRF continues to press for more legal space and advocate for an improved judicial system, including the institutionalization of traditional dispute resolution mechanisms.

In the context of the Vision 2030 and Africa’s Vision 2063, LRF continues to press for more legal space and advocate for an improved judicial system, including the institutionalization of traditional dispute resolution mechanisms.

LRF’s Strategic Plan of 2019-2023 

seeks to promote dignity, integrity and human security.

 

LRF collaborates with both state and non-state actors including but not limited to The Judiciary, Kenya Prison Services, Kenya Police Service, Child care institutions, National Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms (NCCJR), National Council on Administration of Justice (NCAJ), The Sexual Offenses Act Task Force and Special Task Force for the Review of the Children’s Act.

Charging P 3 forms is unconstitutional

Kenyans beware, P 3 forms are free!

Eric Mukoya

Four months and counting, we seem not to appreciate the import of a landmark judgement with the propensity to enhance justice among survivors of violence, particularly the poor. On the 4th of April 2019, sitting in the Embu High Court, Justice Florence Muchemi declared charging of P 3 forms unconstitutional. She was categorical that Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Health, Inspector General of Police, the Honourable Attorney General, National and County governments health facilities were prohibited from levying any fee on P 3 forms. She termed such payment and any other solicitation therefrom, a violation of the basic principles of access to justice. Simply put, charging P 3 forms is null and void.

The judgment may have gone unnoticed because information from various counties indicate non-compliance. This necessitates a reminder, especially from Legal Resources Foundation Trust who canvassed the matter on behalf of poor Kenyans. Violence is barbaric, primitive, unjust and unashamedly, manifestation of a society whose values are fast eroding. Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, grievous harm as well as assault amongst other forms are ostracized, stigmatized, and discriminated upon when made to pay for P 3 forms. Records show that at least 7 out of 10 Kenyans, more so women cannot afford and often abandon prosecution, hence lessening legal possibilities of dealing with perpetrators of violence.  

If Kenya seeks to implement Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 16, then a culture to observe and respect court orders must be nurtured. The opposite is true and common among national and county governments agents. It is not the entitlement of the state to ensure legal inclusivity, through public participation, including protests, Kenyans must be central to this discourse. Article 48 of the Constitution is an aide-mémoire that institutional and legal governance which upholds the rule of law is evidentiary to civility. So, should non-compliance to Justice Florence Muchemi’s judgement bother us as a country?

P 3 forms are central in the management of the criminal justice system in Kenya. First, the forms are strategic evidence archiving instruments, without which ascertainment of allegations regarding violence may be difficult to prove. Second, they serve to demonstrate the extent of harm and confirmation of offense in sexual and gender based related abuse. It is appreciated that absence of a medical expert’s opinion reduces the level of truthfulness in an allegation of violence. Therefore, mishandling of P 3 forms at any stage is a procedural blunder that points to a mistrial yet Article 50 of the constitution demands fairness.

The magnitude of the P 3 form’s issue is large considering that Law Society of Kenya and International Justice Mission were part of the suit as interested parties. In addition, data from the court of appeal indicate that perpetrators of violence are likely acquitted due to lack of P 3 forms, or availability of poorly filled ones, besides, varied testimonies by medical experts, who in the first place didn’t interact with the survivor, hence less inclined to link the information form to the moment of reporting.

Be it as may, commitment to operationalize the judgment is long overdue. The interdicts by Justice Florence Muchemi politely instructed as follows: that all P 3 forms were not to be charged irrespective of what crime they represented: all public health facilities were not to charge any form of fees on P 3 forms: all police officers and stations were expected not to nor seem to suggest in any way or behave in such a manner as if P 3 forms were accessible at a fee: the cabinet secretary of the ministry of Health were to offer directive to all public hospitals not to charge P 3 forms: the national and county governments under Article 174 and 189 partner to ensure that health facilities do not charge P 3 forms: Council of Governors employ its political and administrative oversight to rein-in on counties’ health authorities from charging P 3 forms: and the Attorney General to constitute multi-stakeholder dialogue to develop policy and guidelines on modus operandi of P 3 forms.

In the interest of survivors of violence, the court be urged to proliferate the jurisprudence emanating from this holding. Furthermore, members of public to remain vigilant and canvass emerging trends of blatant disrespect of court orders and monitor how institutions implements the judgement. Nonetheless, for individual officers in the Ministry of Health in particular those working in public hospitals to remember that contempt of court proceedings will not invite institutional failure to observe the court order as a defence. We must echo Benjamin Franklin’s perspective of justice, who once said, “justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” Let us live the spirit of justice!

Community Initiated Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Isiolo

Legal Resources Foundation Trust has been working tirelessly to unclog the criminal justice system through the use of paralegals who commit the work in prisons and courts. The paralegals provide free legal aid and assistance to inmates, link the inmates, mostly pre-trial detainees with Justice Actors, make case follow-ups necessary to move stagnant cases, employ innovative Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms and call for improved conditions in detention facilities with respect to human rights. In Isiolo, LRF paralegals (With the support of Swedish Embassy through Diakonia) have innovatively developed a tool being used by pre-trial detainees to make applications to court to have their cases resolved alternatively through the Traditional Dispute Resolution mechanism where community elders amicably convene complainants and the accused at the prison. The outcome of their sitting is then filed in court where it is adopted and the accused is released based on the same. This innovation has been welcomed and adopted by the court and is playing a big role in reducing matters present in litigation and decongesting the prison. To note, such community driven legal instruments draw from the enabling legal framework articulated in Article 159(2) (c) of the Kenya Constitution that seeks to advance the embrace of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to decongest the Criminal justice system. The Chief Magistrate’s Court in Isiolo has been very supportive to LRF’s work in advancing the use of Traditional Dispute Resolution Mechanisms for prisoners through the use of ADR in both criminal and civil cases.

Imarisha Haki Project

The Legal Resources Foundation Trust (LRF) and her partners: The European Committee for Training and Agriculture (CEFA), Kituo cha Sheria, KNCHR and Faraja Foundation, with support from the European Union (EU), are implementing a 30 months project (December 2017 – May 2020) dubbed “IMARISHA HAKI”.   The project seeks to strengthen Human Right Defenders, State and non- state actors to promote structural reforms with a view of reducing torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment within places of detention in Kenya. While the project is being delivered in specific Counties namely Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Garissa, Embu, and Mombasa, specific project activities are also delivered on a national scale.

Milestones:

a)      Development and adoption of the monitoring and accountability tool in places of detention

The tool was founded on the background of the findings made by the Criminal Justice System Audit, which established that, places of detention are deplorable and fall short of the minimum requirements. The tool currently in use by the National Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms (NCCJR) has assisted in monitoring conditions of detention, analyzing conformity to national and international standards and recommending improvements.

 b)      Training

We have trained 105 Prison Officers drawn from Embu, Nakuru, and Kericho GK Prisons on United Nations Standard Minimum Rules on treatment of Prisoners popularly referred to as Mandela Rules.

 c)       Engagement

We initiated a conversation with the National Police Service towards infrastructural improvement of select police lock-up facilities or cells to align them with domestic laws and international human rights minimum standards.

Prison Officers’ Training – OSF Project

Legal Resources Foundation Trust under the support of Foundations of Open Societies Initiative (FOSI) conducted a training for 25 prison officers in Kisii from 17th to 21st of February 2020. The Kisii High Court Presiding Judge, Hon. Lady Justice Rose Ougo, Kisii County Prisons Commandant, Senior Superintendent of Prisons Mr. Opondo graced this occasion and showed the much-desired support to make the event a success. The 25 officers comprising of 11 women and 14 men were trained on the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules (The Mandela Rules) to enhance compliance in UNSMR in order to improve and promote human rights standards in Kisii GK Prison. The officers were also enlightened on Victim-Offender Mediation and Plea Agreement Concepts and were equipped to help pre-trial detainees in the application of the two. Through partnership with the Kenya Prisons Service and the Open Society Foundation (OSF), LRF seeks to mainstream observation of Human Rights standards in all prisons in Kenya.

Paralegal Support Network(PASUNE)

Paralegal officers with various partners at the East and Horn of Africa Paralegal Summit that took place from 22nd -25th July 2019 at Safari Park Hotel.