Human rights lobby Human Rights Agenda (HURIA) is rooting for a face-lift of the Alternative Dispute Resolutions Mechanisms so that Kenyans from all walks of life can access to justice.
The Organisation says such alternative will not only ensure Kenyans and especially the Coastal people access to justice but will as well reduce backlog of cases in courts.
Addressing journalists in the recent concluded two-day access to justice colloquium held in Mombasa, HURIA Board Member and Advocate Justus Munyithya said the Organisation has been working with the judiciary in ensuring that Kenyans access to justice.
Munyithya stated that through the European Union (EU) funded, Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery in Kenya (PLEAD) they have enable communities in the Coastal counties to access justice.
He revealed that the concerted efforts between the judiciary and the human rights group have yielded into a reduction of case backlogs in courts since locals with pending court cases have received free legal aid as well as Pro bono legal services.
Munyithya however, revealed that not all the court cases qualify for outside settlement as some are crime related and should be fully pursued in the corridors of justice.
“For the cases that cannot in anyway be settled through mediation, we properly trail them in court and ensure justice indiscriminately prevails,” revealed Mr Munyithya.
Munyithya further disclosed that empowering communities with legal awareness remains HURIA’s key agenda in ensuring justice and human rights are fully protected.
“The recent bold step where Chief Justice Martha Koome launched the Shanzu special court to handle Gender Based Violence (GBV), domestic and sexual related cases at the Shanzu law court is one of our achievements we have been pushing for, for the last decade of our service to community,” reiterated Mr Munyithya.
The HURIA Board Member also noted that the Organisation will further strengthen its working relationship with the community in offering paralegal education and services at grassroots level so that communities stake the role of reporting sexual and any other cases to authorities for legal actions so that victims get justice.
On his part, HURIA Executive Director Yusuf Lule Mwatsefu urged the judiciary to decentralise judiciary services to reach the grassroots level.
Lule noted that Coastal people are forced to walk miles to file cases in courts adding that such challenges have played an obstacle for locals to access justice.
He singled out Kilifi and Kwale counties where locals are forced to walk long distances to seek justice, reiterating that such services should be at the backdoor of locals.
“We are still pushing for more courts establishment in the Coastal counties so that seeking justice is not an uphill task for our communities at the grassroots level,” noted Mr Lule.