Kenya court allows massacre lawsuit to proceed

Kenya court allows massacre lawsuit to proceed

[JURIST] A High Court in Kenya has denied government objections to a civil lawsuit brought by family members of the 365 confirmed victims of the 1984 Wagalla Massacre by Kenyan security forces. The Kenyan government had filed a motion seeking to dismiss the civil suit [East African Standard report] on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to initiate judicial proceedings. The individuals killed were all males of the Degodia clan whom the security forces had herded onto the Wagalla airstrip [KBC report] and then shot. Allegations from family members and local NGOs put the actual number of victims into the thousands. Lawyers for the family members warned that if the Kenyan courts refused to prosecute the crime, they would seek redress with the International Criminal Court [official website], alleging that the state's actions met the definition of genocide [JURIST news archive].

The High Court held that the family members' claims should be granted hearing before a court to decide the case on merits, rather than dismissing the issue on a technicality of legal standing. Kenya's East African Standard has more.