Ateam of Kenyan lawyers on Tuesday filed a case against the British government at the European Court of Human Rights seeking compensation for historical injustices committed during the colonial period.
Lawyer Joel Kimutai Bosek, who is based in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, told The Southern African Times that they are seeking compensation for land theft, torture, and forceful eviction.
“Up to 200,000 acres of our land was grabbed by the Britons, who evicted our forefathers,” he said. “We hope the court will help us get justice.”
According to Bosek, he is working with three other Kenyan lawyers and three Britons.
“The British were the pioneer land-grabbers in Kenya. They displaced hundreds of families in Bomet and Kericho counties in the Rift Valley,” he said.
Bosek said they are seeking compensation for over 120,000 families and would leave the matter with the court to decide the amount.
“In my estimation, this compensation for the land, in particular, may be over 2 trillion shillings (16.68 billion U.S. dollars) if you go by the current land market of 10 million shillings (83,405 dollars) in the area, but that is for the court to decide,” he said.
The suit also listed Unilever, Williamson and Finlay as co-defendants. These firms grow tea in Kenya and export to Britain.
“We are doing it for posterity. We are a brave generation. We don’t want to be blamed by future generations and we can’t sit on it because our parents didn’t do it,” he said.
Kenya is one of the top exporters of tea, which is mainly grown in the Rift Valley and central regions.