Case Law Handbook on Violence Against Women and Girls in Commonwealth East Africa

Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda

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This case law handbook has been developed by judges in Commonwealth East Africa as a contribution to the development of the jurisprudence of equality. It supports propagation of the procedural recommendations and good practices set out in the Judicial Bench Book on Violence Against Women in Commonwealth East Africa, with a view to providing judicial officers and rule of law practitioners with a comprehensive and up-to-date resource on adjudicating matters fo VAWG in the East African jurisdictions. The handbook presents leading cases of relevance to these jurisdictions and is intended to add to local manuals, guidelines or handbooks that reflect local processes.




This chapter introduces readers to cases on defilement as a form of violence against girls. The aim is to enable judicial officers and other stakeholders to appreciate the respective roles of state actors such as the police, consequences of the failure to investigate, the need to protect of all minors (boys or girls) in cases of consensual under-age sexual intercourse, corroboration of evidence of children, what entails ‘private parts,’ failure of the victim to testify, the concept of the ‘person in a position of authority,’ the relevance of medical evidence, compensation, unsworn evidence and the impact of the age of the offender on sentencing when dealing with cases involving defilement.


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