Overview

The GI-ESCR intervened at the request of Haki Jamii, a Nairobi based NGO, in a recent forced eviction case in Kenya.  Working closely with the affected community and Haki Jamii, the GI-ESCR took the lead in drafting an amicus curiae intervention aimed at informing the new Constitution of Kenya by bringing in international human rights standards as well as comparative law from South Africa.  The amicus curiae brief was drafted by the GI-ESCR on behalf of the ESCR-Net Adjudication Working Group’s Strategic Litigation Initiative and was joined by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI), the Community Law Centre (CLC), he Centre for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) and the Social Rights Advocacy Centre (SRAC) as well as Malcolm Langford, Co-Coordinator of the ESCR-Net Adjudication Working Group and Director of the Socio-Economic Rights Programme (Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo).

In a landmark ruling, the High Court relied on the amicus intervention and read international human rights standards into the understanding of the Constitution of Kenya and ordered that the forcibly evicted community be returned to their lands, have their homes rebuilt and be compensated for their losses.  The court also awarded the victims 224.6 million Kenyan Shillings (about US$2,660,000).

“We want to most sincerely thank you for the critical support we received which significantly influenced the decision.  Your input was particularly invaluable because as you can see the Court relied heavily on the international covenants and international law principles especially with regard to what constitutes forced evictions, the need for restitution etc.  We are working on enforcement and once we have finalized the preliminaries we shall get back to you.”

-Odindo Opiata, Haki Jamii

For an analysis of the case see Kenya Law Reports