Kapenguria, Kenya – Kapenguria High Court Judge Antony Mrima has issued a stern warning against child abuse and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in West Pokot County. He emphasized the importance of adhering to the law in child protection matters and discouraged any efforts to conceal such violations or settle them outside of court.
According to Kenya News Agency, Judge Mrima spoke during a public sensitization forum at Chelang’a Gardens in Makutano, marking the official launch of Child Service Month in West Pokot. He acknowledged that neighbours, village heads, and assistant chiefs often receive initial reports of child rights violations, urging them to assist the judiciary in ensuring due process.
Judge Mrima highlighted the responsibility of local administrators and community members in reporting child abuse cases. He commended certain chiefs and assistants in the region for exposing child rights violations, noting that having perpetrators undergo the justice system is commendable.
He reiterated that defilement and FGM are serious crimes that require full criminal procedures, warning against the use of arbitrations in such cases. Judge Mrima cautioned that overlooking defilement and FGM cases could lead to lifelong suffering for the victims.
Justice Mrima stressed the judiciary’s commitment to fair hearings, citing a recent case where a 65-year-old man received a life sentence for defiling a 10-year-old girl. He expressed a desire to collaborate with various partners, including NGOs, government departments, religious communities, and court users, to ensure justice in the region.
Meanwhile, Kapenguria Principal Magistrate Stella Telewa urged parents and the community to protect children, especially during school holidays. She highlighted the Children’s Act’s local and international significance, emphasizing society’s role in prioritizing children’s welfare.
Telewa, also the Chairperson of the Children Court Users Committee, pointed out that children are the most vulnerable members of society and need utmost protection. She called for collective effort in handling children’s matters, particularly during Child Service Month, when children’s cases before the courts will be prioritized.