JURIST OF THE YEAR (JOYA) AWARD 2017

Moses Okinyi

JOYA Invite

The Jurist of the Year Award (JOYA) is an annual award that seeks to acknowledge, recognize, and encourage outstanding jurists who have consistently, fearlessly and impartially contributed to the promotion of the rule of law and human rights in Kenya during the year. The award has been conferred every 10th December each from 1993 to commemorate and honor the United Nations International Human Rights Day.

This year 2017 JOYA ceremony will be held on 11th December 2017 at ICJ Kenya Offices in Kileleshwa.

The event will also be used to commemorate Human Rights Day, a day which is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Human Rights Day kicks off a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being -- regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.

The late human rights lawyer Willie Kimani was post humously named the 2016 Jurist of the Year in recognition of his work after he paid the ultimate price while defending human rights.
Kimani, who was killed mid 2016 was awarded the posthumous award for his bravery in defending the down trodden in the country, since he was a law student at the University of Nairobi.It is the work his widow Hannah Kimani, while receiving the award at a ceremony to commemorate the 2016 International Human Rights said: “I never thought it will cost his life.” “No amount of words can explain who Willy was. He was one of a kind… with this award, it shows that his work was not in vain.” She described Kimani, “as the best father my two boys would ever have.”

Lawyer Willie Kimani spent his entire career investigating and exposing bad police officers and brought some of them to justice before his brutal killing two weeks ago. His clients were victims of police brutality and Kimani died alongside one of them, Mr Josephat Mwenda, and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri. Their bodies were found on July 1 2016 in a river at Ol Donyo Sabuk, fulfilling a prophesy he made seven years ago that killer police officers would make good their threats on his life.

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