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Victim-Centred or System-Serving?: The Legal Framework for Victim Participation in Sentencing in Kenya

Victim-Centred or System-Serving?: The Legal Framework for Victim Participation in Sentencing in Kenya
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Author(s): Moses Adama Osiro (Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya)
Copyright: 2022
Pages: 29
Source title: Comparative Criminology Across Western and African Perspectives
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Simeon P. Sungi (United States International University-Africa, Kenya) and Nabil Ouassini (Prairie View A&M University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2856-3.ch007

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Abstract

This chapter analyses the key legislative and policy developments in Kenya designed to enhance victims' participation in criminal proceedings, with a focus on the initiatives mandating victim participation in sentencing through the use of victim impact statements. It argues that while victim-oriented policy and legislative developments in Kenya rhetorically include victims in the criminal process, the manner and form of inclusion betrays an overarching thrust to accentuate criminal justice goals, rather than the victims' interests per se. This is revealed by the selectivity by which victimhood is constructed, to include only victims whose input has evidentiary remit at sentencing as well as the inclination to give a premium to the evidentiary utility of victim impact statements from the vantage of judicial officers, while giving short shrift to its value to victims. Victim subjectivity appears to be telescoped by the need to limit such participation to its evidential value in consonance with the bipartite structure of the adversarial trial in which the victim has no party status.

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