The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

Mau Forest Eviction: Kenya to Pay Ogiek People KES 158 million

The African Court for Human and People’s Rights operating from Arusha, Tanzania, has ordered the Kenya Government to pay Members of Ogiek Minorities 158 Million Shillings.

It is compensation for damages suffered during their unceremonious eviction from Mau Forest.

‘Having considered the Parties’ submissions, as well as those by the amici curiae and independent experts, the Court, in the exercise of its equitable jurisdiction, ordered that the Respondent State must compensate the Ogiek with the sum of Kenya Shillings 57,850,000.’ Reads part of the ruling.

In the present Application, the Court noted that while it was not possible to allocate a precise monetary value equivalent to the moral damage suffered by the Ogiek.

Nevertheless, it could award compensation that provided adequate reparation to the Ogiek.

In determining reparations for moral prejudice, the Court confirmed that it takes into consideration the reasonable exercise of judicial discretion and bases its decision on the principles of equity, taking into account the specific circumstances of each case.

In the exercise of its reasonable discretion in equity, the Court ordered the Respondent State to compensate the Ogiek with the sum of One hundred million Kenyan Shillings for the moral prejudice suffered.

Total compensation should thus add up to 158 million Kenyan shillings.

In making the finding, the Court affirmed its finding that the Respondent State, being responsible for the violation of the rights of the Ogiek, bore the responsibility for rectifying the consequences of its wrongful acts.

In its Application, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights alleged that, in October 2009, the Ogiek, an indigenous minority ethnic group in the Republic of Kenya received a thirty days eviction notice from the Kenya Forestry Service, to leave the Mau Forest.

The Commission filed the Application after receiving, on 14 November 2009, a Communication from the Centre for Minority Rights Development and Minority Rights Group International, both acting on behalf of the Ogiek of Mau Forest.

Members of the Ogiek Community during the ruling

In the Application, the Commission argued that the eviction notice failed to consider the importance of the Mau Forest for the survival of the Ogiek leading to violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The Court confirmed that moral prejudice includes both the suffering and distress caused to the direct victims and their families, and the impairment of values that are highly significant to them, as well as other changes of a non-pecuniary nature, in the living conditions of the victims or their family.

The Court then considered the Applicant’s claims for non-pecuniary reparations covering the claims for restitution of Ogiek ancestral lands, recognition of the Ogiek as an indigenous people.

The request for a public apology, the prayer for the erection of a public monument, the prayer for an order directing effective consultation and dialogue over matters affecting the Ogiek and the prayer for guarantees of non-repetition.

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