Details for The perception and application of international law within the domestic arena – the paradigm shift

Name:The perception and application of international law within the domestic arena – the paradigm shift

This essay analyses the extent to which international provisions as enshrined in CEDAW and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights have been applied by the courts to protect the human rights of women in Kenya. While Kenyan courts do not generally apply these laws, recently a few courts have recognized the importance of international law in the interpretation of domestic law to protect women’s human rights. The author cites a number of relevant cases, including the Dow v Attorney General and Longwe v Intercontinental Hotels cases, to show that judges are beginning to recognize the importance of Kenya’s commitment to this legislation. International law is not self­executing and special measures have to be taken to make it applicable and enforceable but no such provisions have been made for its general application in the municipal legal system of Kenya. The author points out that the judiciary and lawyers in Kenya need to be trained to use international law within the domestic arena and judges need to be sensitive, bold, creative and innovative in implementing and enforcing international law. Training is ongoing under the jurisprudence of equality programme and, with the Kenyan constitution now under scrutiny with a view to eliminating the current anomalies, there is a chance that the scenario will change and international law will be implemented at the domestic level in Kenya.

By Ruth Aura Odhiambo

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Created On: 11/29/2012 07:54
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