The State’s commission for gender has welcomed the decision by the Director of Public Prosecution to immediately proceed to court with the case against six men accused of gang-raping a Busia pupil in June 2013.
Mr Keriako Tobiko announced Thursday that medical evidence supported charges of sexual violence, signalling hope that the standard seven pupil could finally get justice eight months after the brutal attack.
The attack on the night of June 26, 2013 left the girl with double fistula and wheel-chair bound from spinal injuries from a fall into a pit-latrine where the family says she was dumped after the alleged rape.
A campaign- known as “Justice for Liz” which aims to get those responsible brought to book and get her treated thrust her plight into international attention after a global human rights organisation Avaaz, collected more than 1.2 million signatures calling for justice.
The campaign was initiated by Nation Media Group after DN2 published her story on October 8, 2013.
Her medical condition has improved and she is now walking on crutches.
However, the 16-year old who has been receiving treatment at Gynocare Fistula Centre in Eldoret is still not well enough to return to school.
Thursday, the National Gender and Equality Commission boss Winfred Lichuma in welcoming the DPP’s decision to charge the suspects with sexual assault called for quick arrests and thorough investigations.
“The commission, having been on the ground and documented acts of omission and commission that led to the mishandling of Liz’s case, wishes to reiterate that there should be proper investigations conducted, arrests effected and charges preferred to the perpetrators, said Ms Lichuma.
Only one suspect has been arrested and is out on a Sh15,000 bail after he was charged in a local court with causing grievous harm Liz.
Further, Mr Tobiko said his office had taken up protection of Liz and her family, with the Witness Protection Agency.
The family has complained of intimidation and threats from certain people in the village and recorded statements with local police last month.
They said their five children aged between 15-4 years were traumatised and the mother has had to relocate from home with them.
The DPP also announced too that the Independent Police Oversight Authority was conducting an investigation into the conduct of the Administration Police said to have mishandled the teenager’s case when it was first reported.
The NGO Coalition on Violence Against Women would ensure that the girl and her family receive “appropriate’’ psycho-social support and act as her intermediaries, he said.
He added that the decision was reached after consultations with human rights groups such as the association of women lawyers Fida-Kenya and Covaw.
The new development comes only days after the DPP indicated the case would take time before heading to court because “it was too premature.’’
The gender commission had written to Mr Tobiko, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and Chief Justice Willy Mutunga recommending measures for proper handling of sexual offences cases and making sure they are investigated and prosecuted on time to ensure justice.Gender commission welcomes decision to prosecute gang-rape suspects
Published on Daily Nation http://www.nation.co.ke/news/justice-for-liz/-/1056/2196464/-/13ui0ge/-/index.html