Mau Mau Cases: Justice for the Victims of British Colonialism’s Demise?

May 12, 2009

Mau Mau Suspects Awaiting Colonial Justice

Mau Mau Suspects Awaiting Colonial "Justice"

A group of elderly Kenyans are set to sue the British government regarding abuses that they suffered during the Mau Mau rebellion, back in the 1950s. The case will also be a reminder (whether registered or not) that the treatment meted out to Binyam Mohamed by Her Majesty’s torturers, is hardly a new phenomenon in the annals of the Brittanic Emirate.

More than 150,000 Kenyans were held in appalling conditions in detention camps during the uprising against the British colonial administration, according to recent studies. Tens of thousands of people were killed or died of disease or starvation, while torture of prisoners was routine and brutal.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission said it had documented in detail 40 cases of castration, severe sexual abuse and unlawful detention, and these actions “resulted from policies which were sanctioned at the highest levels of government in London”.

If the suit is successful, human rights advocates believe that thousands more could follow.

Of course, the British government will attempt to weasel its way out of responsibility, arguing that “the claim [is] invalid because of the time that had elapsed since the abuses” while “any liability resulting from the colonial administration ha[s] passed on to the Kenyan government at independence.”

Stay tuned.

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