Since 2011, RODI has been in the front-line line in legal aid delivery and promotion of human rights for indigent and vulnerable persons within the Kenya Criminal Justice System with technical and financial support from the Open Society Foundation and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The legal aid delivery involves conducting legal aid clinics and and awareness to pre-trial detainees in remand centres and communities around them. The legal aid includes offering Legal Advice, Legal Awareness, campaigns and outreach programmes, Alternative Dispute Resolution among other areas of legal aid services. Over the last 2 years, RODI has offered legal aid to more that 240 pretrial detainees in Nairobi county
This is done through rendering basic legal advice to the inmates, making necessary follow up to courts, police, probation, pro-bono lawyers and other justice actors to ensure cases are moving, their welfare issues are addressed and human rights standards are adhered to.
The initiative aims at enhancing access to justice, by promoting access to legal aid and assistance for pre-trial detainees and local communities in focus counties, while engaging national and county duty bearers on policy and legislative development to facilitate and amiable operational environment
RODI also involved in lobbying and advocating for policy review/law reform such as in decriminalizing of petty and state regulatory offences to reduce the high rate of arrest and detention of persons within such regulations. In this regard, RODI is a member of the NCAJ Committee on Criminal Justice Reform (NCCJR) whose mandate is to spearhead the comprehensive review and reform of Kenya’s entire Criminal Justice System, and to oversee the full implementation of the findings and recommendations of the Criminal Justice system in Kenya: An Audit. RODI also works closely with state and non state agencies to complement and support the initiatives aimed at addressing access to justice, fair trial and human rights issues.
The interventions aim to contribute to promotion and/or protection of human rights by addressing criminal justice and human rights issues relating to the right to fair trial and due process, the right to liberty and advocating for policy review in the administration of justice and human rights sector.
The interventions are directed towards contributing to sustainable development goal 16 –in promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. RODI access to justice work is implemented through 4 key approaches:
- Advocacy and policy review to provide a guide in legal aid delivery.
- Rights based approach by ensuring that people’s rights are realized as per the Constitution of Kenya 2010 bill of rights, domestic laws and international standards
- Paralegal approach by involving trained paralegals with basic legal knowledge and skills used to provide legal aid and education
- Sustained partnership approach by focusing on cementing partnership with both state and non-state actors in the administration of justice sector
The initiative anticipates the following outcomes towards realisation of A Justice sector that is just, inclusive, and responsive yet promotes, protects respects, and fulfills fundamental rights and freedoms:
- A Strong justice sector that is accessible, efficient, responsive & protects the rights of all especially the Vulnerable
- Empowered and Informed citizens that self mobilize to claim their rights and freedoms
Strengthened and well-coordinated CSOs & CSO’s network leading evidence-based advocacy and delivering their oversight role