Kenya’s Judiciary launches Programme to improve access to justice

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The European Union has committed to supporting a new programme initiative towards universal access to justice in Kenya. Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery in Kenya (PLEAD) is a EUR 34,150,000 (KES 4,288,000,000) five-year programme which brings together Kenya’s justice system actors to advance access to justice interventions that will ultimately deepen the realisation of constitutional guarantees to the right to equality and justice for all citizens.

“The European Union is founded on the principles of democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law and we believe these principles are inextricably connected and one cannot exist without the other.  It’s only through democracy that individuals can fully claim and realise their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. Therefore, when the rule of law is respected democracy flourishes. Crucial element for the Rule of law is the effective functioning of the institutions within the justice sector including the independence of the judiciary,” Bruno Pozzi, Deputy Ambassador, European Union Delegation to Kenya.

It is estimated that every two years, more than four million Kenyans end up being arrested and detained by police and only 32% of these arrests are charged in court; while, 70% of these charges are related to petty offences.

It is critical for all actors to support the Judiciary in its efforts to establish High Courts in all the 47 counties of Kenya to enhance ease of access to justice for every Kenyan

“Our job in the Judiciary is very clear; it is to render justice to all Kenyans without exception. While there is still a significant backlog of cases that have not been resolved, the ongoing accelerated case clearance programme will see most of these cases concluded by end of 2018. It is critical for all actors to support the Judiciary in its efforts to establish High Courts in all the 47 counties of Kenya to enhance ease of access to justice for every Kenyan.” Chief Justice, David Maraga.

The PLEAD programme, implemented with the support of  the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNDP’s Amkeni Wakenya facility, will support the institutions in the justice sector to enhance access to legal aid, strengthen court administration and case management,  increase efficiency in the Criminal Justice System and facilitate coordination in the Justice sector.  Therefore PLEAD will  support several key actors in Kenya’s justice system, including the Department of Justice, the Judiciary, the National Council on the Administration of Justice, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, the Witness Protection Agency, the Kenya Probation and Aftercare Service and civil society organisations providing legal aid.

The five-year Programme will target 12 counties focusing on the seven marginalised counties of Wajir, Mandera, Lamu, Tana River, Garissa, Marsabit, and Isiolo as well as five urban centres of Kisumu, Nairobi, Mombasa, Uasin Gishu and Nakuru.

“The commitment of all partners to work hand-in-hand with all the judicial sector players will ensure that the outcomes to all judicial processes are satisfactory. The five years PLEAD will be implemented effectively for tangible transformation and growth in Kenya’s justice system.” Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés, UNODC Regional Representative for Eastern Africa.