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Kenya

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Since August 2010, Kenya has been implementing a new Constitution with an expanded Bill of Rights and ambitious government decentralization (devolution) processes. The transferring of a large number of national functions to 47 newly created county governments has strengthened accountability and public service delivery at local levels. Building on notable progress achieved over a relatively short period, efforts continue to align pre-existing laws with the Constitution and to enact new laws to implement its provisions. Particular focus is being placed on legal interventions that will address issues of transparency, gender equality, peace and security, and the climate crisis.

Kenya is a Member Party of IDLO, and since 2010 the organization has collaborated with the institutions responsible for implementing the key provisions of Kenya’s Constitution, particularly relating to the Bill of Rights, land and the environment, devolution, the judiciary, access to justice and representation of the people. A key component of IDLO’s work is advancing gender justice in the country’s courts and institutions, and operationalizing the gender provisions contained in the Constitution.

IDLO also works closely with the Judiciary of Kenya, including on commercial justice reforms, such as the implementation of e-justice solutions and the establishment of Small Claims Courts, which help to streamline and speed up court processes and expand access to justice. IDLO is also providing technical support to the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Court, and has helped develop policy and legal frameworks on managing and responding to SGBV.

  An overview of IDLO's work in Kenya

 

Lessons Learned Brief - Avoiding Violence and Enhancing Legitimacy: Judicial Preparedness for Handling Electoral Disputes in Kenya and Beyond

The Brief (or Lessons Learned Brief), titled Avoiding Violence and Enhancing Legitimacy: Judicial Preparedness for Handling Electoral Disputes in Kenya and Beyond, explores IDLO’s support to the Kenyan judiciary to resolve electoral disputes. The 2007 electoral violence in Kenya demonstrated that disastrous consequences can follow when the electoral dispute resolution system is not trusted to deal fairly and efficiently with contested elections.

Mainstreaming biodiversity in Kenya

Traditionally under the remit of environmentalists alone, biodiversity has now been recognized in the 2030 Agenda as a key element of global development that should be integrated across all sectors. Kenya’s Constitution includes provisions related to environment and natural resource management, which has given impetus to new laws, policies and other enabling legal instruments at the national and county levels.

Access to Justice in Kenya

The Constitution of Kenya requires the Government to facilitate access to justice for all citizens, as it remains a critical pillar for poverty reduction and sustainable development. To this end, IDLO has been supporting the Kenyan judiciary since April 2012 to strengthen its capacity to administer and enhance access to justice for all Kenyans.

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Key Initiatives

  • Justice within the context of commercial law is premised on the fact that an effective commercial justice system meets and facilitates the specialized needs of the business community and the private sector at large. However, there are persistent challenges related to the dispensation of commercial justice in Kenya.
  • The drafters of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 saw it necessary to include progressive provisions related to environment and natural resource management. These provisions gave impetus to new laws, policies and other enabling legal instruments at the national and county levels.
  • While the new Constitution of Kenya, 2010 provides for the right of every Kenyan to access justice, its implementation is vital to strengthen and support the changes required for a better Kenya. IDLO is supporting the Kenyan Government to implement the Constitution in an effective, efficient and sustainable manner, in accordance with international standards and best practices. This is being done with a view to enhancing access to justice for Kenyans, especially for women, children and other vulnerable populations.
  • The Constitution of Kenya, adopted in 2010, made way for a new governance system composed of a national government and 47 county governments. Most of the assistance provided to the county governments has been focused on technical support. However, there is also a need to support the preparation of quality draft legislation to the county assemblies so that it meets the constitutional requirements. 
  • In 2010, the people of Kenya overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new Constitution, following a protracted struggle for constitutional reform spanning over two decades. Under the new Constitution, the elections of 2013 were the first in Kenya’s multiparty history with Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) processes in place. With these mechanisms, disputes can be resolved legally, peacefully and speedily – as opposed to resulting in violence or being allowed to drag through the courts. 
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