EXPERT OPINION

No justice for Kenyan victims of embassy blast but Americans paid

For more than 22 years, the Kenyan victims have never accessed justice, though they and their families pleaded with government

In Summary

• Kenyan victims deserve justice - compensation, reparations - for deaths and injuries in the bombing. Americans victims and families were paid by Sudan.

• A case will be filed this week by Kituo Cha Sheria and victims seeking compensation for victims, and other measuresk 

The victims of the 1998 US embassy bomb blast have been abandoned and shunned by our government. This is despite US efforts to ensure reparations or compensation to citizens who were injured or killed and to their families.

US government employees killed or injured in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were awarded $4.3 billion damages from the Republics of Sudan and Iran. Their critical support of  al Qaeda led to the attacks.

Some 213 people died in Nairobi.

Most Kenyans                        s were not awarded because they were not American citizens or embassy employees. Only a handful of Kenyans working for the embassy were awarded compensation — less than Americans received.

The US has all along listed Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism.

To be removed from that list, the government had to pay compensation. They did this in 2020. The US made concerted efforts to achieve justice for its citizens.

Kenya has not tried.

This is despite correspondence from victims and their families seeking government help. The matter was tabled in Parliament on October 23, 2013. It was referred from the Legal Committee. There has been no action.

Given the grievous harm, including loss of life, the government is obliged to ensure reparations and compensation.

International human rights law affirms the importance of remedies and reparations of victims systematically at national and international levels.

The victims are aggrieved the government failed to take necessary steps to detect, prevent and stop the attack. They say the entire planning and execution of the attack or likely attack was known by the state, or should have been known.

The petitioners —Kituo Cha Sheria and victims — plan to file a case this week. They seek a declaration government compromised or violated rights to life, security of person and the legitimate expectations of petitioners and estates under Constitution Sections 26 and 29.

They seek an order for the Attorney General, within six months of the court judgment, to report on steps taken to:

1) file an international jurisdiction case for compensation of all victims and their families against the Republics of Sudan and Iran and or steps taken;

2) obtain compensation from al Qaeda assets and BNP Paribas SA, a global financial institution headquartered in Paris that provided material support to Sudan;

3) seek an acknowledgment of responsibility from Sudan and Iran;

4) seek victims' compensation.

Kituo represents the victims pro bono as they are poor and needy.

The programme coordinator Kituo Cha Sheria, legal aid and education department spoke to the Star

(Edited by V. Graham