Socialist Worker

Mau Mau case - when 'sorry' is the hardest word

Issue No. 2357

The Foreign Office was quick to clarify last week that the foreign secretary was not making an apology for the British government. 

The Foreign Office was regretting torture carried out by the colonial authorities. 

What is the difference? 

The government says that it cannot be held responsible for the crimes of British colonialism. 

This is because Kenya’s colonial government was dissolved in 1963 when the country gained independence.

Hague said the High Court had backed up this surreal position in 2011. 

The judge actually said that the claimants, “have arguable cases in law and on the facts as presently known, that there was such systematic torture and the UK government is so liable.”

Hague also said that the court had not found against the government. 

It hadn’t—because his statement was made precisely to stop the case going ahead when it appeared likely to set a precedent.

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