KENYA: Forced Anal Examinations in Homosexuality Cases Challenged in Court

handsCourt earlier this week heard a constitutional petition challenging the use of forced anal examinations of men accused of homosexuality. Under international law, forced anal examinations are a form of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment that may amount to torture, a practice that is widely common in sodomy and homosexuality cases in the East African nation.

The case that was heard before the Mombasa High Court had two petitioners, only identified as C.O.I. and G.M.N. According to a Human Rights Watch statement, the petitioners stated that state that doctors at Mombasa’s Coast General Provincial Hospital in under the instructions of law officers, violated their rights by subjecting them to forced anal examinations, HIV tests, and other blood tests in February 2015, while they were in police custody on charges related to alleged homosexual conduct.

According to the same statement, these examinations usually involve doctors or other medical personnel inserting their fingers, and sometimes other objects, into the anus of the accused. In other cases, men are ordered to strip naked and bend over or lie down with their feet in stirrups while doctors “visually” examine their anal regions. Law enforcement officials and some medical personnel claim that by forcibly penetrating or otherwise examining the anuses of men accused of homosexuality, they can determine the tone of the anal sphincter or the shape of the anus and draw conclusions as to whether these men have engaged in homosexual conduct.

Forced anal exams violate the Convention against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Convention on Human and Peoples’ Rights – all treaties that Kenya has

ratified, Human Rights Watch said. Under international law and Kenya’s Sexual Offenses Act, if the exams involve any form of unwanted penetration, they constitute sexual assault and possibly rape.

Although the case was inconclusive, it signaled that the African LGBTI movement will stop at nothing to have their rights protected as well as get rid of the unfair and unjust treatment they are continuously subjected to. However, it should also be noted that according the United Nations,  forced anal examinations are considered as torture.