The families of 10 Kenyans convicted and sentenced for robbery with violence in Tanzania have been awarded compensation.
The African Court on Human and People’s Rights ruled on July 4 that the families were entitled to compensation owing to the lengthy period of time the trial took before the 10 were convicted.
The verdict was issued in a case in which the Kenyans sued the Tanzanian government following their arrest in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2006 and the prosecution that followed.
While noting that the trial took longer than expected, they accused Tanzanian authorities of violating their rights.
The Kenyans include Wilfred Onyango Nganyi alias Dadii, Peter Gikuru Mburu alias Kamau, Jimmy Maina Njoroge alias Ordinary and Patrick Mutheee Muriithi alias Musevu.
The others are Simon Githinji Kariuki, Boniface Mwangi Mburu alias Bonche, David Ngigu Mburu alias Mike, Gabriel Kungu Kariuki, John Odongo Odhiambo and Simon Ndungu Kiambuthi alias Kenen.
While five of them were acquitted and released from jail for lack of evidence, the others were convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
While awarding the money, 11judges of the Arusha-based court pointed out that all the beneficiaries did not allege a differentiated level of prejudice.
The judges also considered that the trial took two years, six months and 14 days despite the fact that a higher court had ordered a speedy prosecution.
The court also noted that prejudice was suffered for the period during which the case was put on hold before the trial commenced.
“There is hardly any doubt that the close relatives of the applicants suffered moral damage arising from the breaches," the ruling stated.
"The court considers that compensation is warranted only for the closest relatives, being the spouses, children, fathers and mothers. These are therefore persons who, in the instant case, can claim the status of victim."
The judges, however, dismissed the amounts each of the accused sought and ordered that spouses get $1,000, every child $800 and a father or mother named as a dependent $500.
They also said compensation to the indirect victims should be equal to the loss suffered by the direct victims.
For pain, physical and emotional suffering, the court also awarded each of those acquitted $3,000 and those convicted $4,000 even though the Tanzanian government had termed the awards as baseless and mere afterthought.
The judges further awarded each of the 10 TSh300,000 ($130) as compensation for legal aid during the trial but declined to quash their sentence.
They also declined to award them for loss of income saying the claims were insufficiently proven.