The Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Betty Aol Ocan has recommended that government considers giving powers to Magistrate Courts to handle cases of Human Rights violations.
According to the current laws, cases of human rights violation are a prerogative of the Human Rights Commission and the High Court.
The LOP made the call while submitting on the Human Rights Enforcement Bill (2015) which is under determination before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.
Aol said the Human Rights Commission as well as the High Courts are inaccessible to people in remote areas who may need to report cases of abuse.
“Magistrate courts are in most districts in the country as opposed to High courts and leaving such cases to before the High Court would make the complainants lose hope and easily abandon the cases,” Aol said.
“The Human Rights Enforcement Act should not limit the justification of the High Court to hear matters concerning human rights enforcement.”
She noted that for easy administration of justice and accessibility to court by Human Rights abuse victims, magistrate courts should be allowed to handle some matters.
“This will reduce case backlog and clogging the already busy court as it is the case currently.”
She argued that limiting the complainants from seeking legal address on the grounds that the Human Rights Commission or Equal Opportunities Commission is investigating the matter is unfair.
“The recommendations of such commissions are always ignored by the State since they are not binding; the litigant should be allowed to choose where to take his or her complaint without limiting his or her rights.”
Aol also recommended that the Bill should provide for a creation of a human rights fund from which victims can be compensated since there is a lot of delay in payments of the court awards and this delay as well amounts to abuse of human rights.