Application 006/2012 African Commission vs Republic of Kenya

The Application / case  was in respect of the Ogiek of the Mau Forest. The Ogiek are a minority and indigenous ethnic group in Kenya comprising of about 20,000 members, about 15,000 of whom inhabit the greater Mau Forest complex, a land mass of about 400,000 hectares straddling about seven administrative districts. In October 2009, through the Kenya Forestry Service, the Kenyan Government issued a thirty (30) days eviction notice to the Ogiek and other settlers of the Mau Forest, demanding that they move out of the forest on the grounds that the forest constituted a reserved water catchment zone, and was in any event part and parcel of government land.

The community filed a complaint before the African Commission  focusing their case on that the Government of Kenya had violated Articles 1, 2, 4, and 17 (2) and (3) of the Charter.

The African Court has actually issued 3 Rulings on the Ogiek matter

  • On 15 March 2013, the Court issued an Order for Provisional Measures (Interim Orders) directing the Government of Kenya to stop all land transactions in the Mau, and refrain from anything that would prejudice the main case.
  • On 26th May 2017, the Court issued the Merits Judgment
  • On 23rd June 2022, the Court issued the Reparations Judgement
  • In 2017, the Court found that seven clusters of the rights of the Ogiek had been violated, including rights to: –
  • Life
  • Property
  • freedom from discrimination
  • Religion
  • Culture
  • Freely dispose of wealth and natural resources and development
  • Violations of Articles 1, 2, 8, 14, 17(2), 17(3), 21, 22

In the June 2022 landmark judgment on reparation the Court:

  • Unanimously dismissed all the Government’s Objections;
  • Granted collective title to Ogiek, and ordered the Government, in consultation with the community, to delimit and demarcate and issue collective title;
  • Ordered the full recognition of the Ogiek as an indigenous community in Kenya, including recognising their language, cultural and religious practices, within one year of ruling;
  • Recognises, respects and protects the rights of the Ogiek to be effectively consulted in accordance with their traditions and customs in respect of all development, conservation or development projects on Ogiek ancestral land (Principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent);
  • Directed full publication, within 6 months, of the official Court summaries of both the May 2017 Merits Judgment, and the June 2022 Reparations Judgment in the official Gazette, and in a newspaper with wide national circulation; and to publish the full texts of both Judgements in an official government website;
  • Awarded to the Ogiek from the Government of Kenya, to be paid into a Community Development Fund established within 12 months of the date of the judgment.
  • Pay reparations of 157 million Kenya Shillings (equivalent to 1.4 Million United States Dollars). This is: –
  • 57 million Kenya Shillings in material damages, and
  • 100 million Kenya Shillings in moral damages
  • Within 12 months to establish, in full consultation with the Ogiek people, a Community Development Fund, and establish a Management Committee for the Fund, and pay the reparations into this Fund for the benefit of the community.
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