We have come a long Way
The spirit behind IMLU was envisaged principally as an answer to the prevalent torture practices perpetrated by state actors. In 1992, IMLU began as an ad hoc voluntary facility whose first work centered on providing forensic medical documentation of injuries suffered by victims of politically instigated violence along ethnic lines in the Western and Rift Valley Provinces and also to victims of the State despotism of the February Eighteenth Revolutionary Army (FERA.)
IMLU’s presence during this era was unique in the aspect that though there were other Civil Society Organizations vigorously advocating for greater respect for human rights including condemning acts of torture, none was specifically concentrating on the need to provide medical evidence on torture that had the capacity to lead to a conviction once prosecution commenced. Other loopholes at the moment included the underdeveloped forensic facility within the criminal investigation department, lack of independence in carrying out investigations, culture of impunity and lack of effective cooperation among criminal justice agencies and these very much frustrated efforts to hold accountable perpetrators of heinous crimes.
The then government was cynical and paranoid where Non-Governmental Organizations were concerned and this proved to be a challenge as far as registering IMLU was concerned. The organization hence operated as a project of the Bungoma Professional Associations (BPA) until 1995 when it was registered as a trust.
In 1998, IMLU, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and People against Torture (PAT) jointly formed the Litigation Fund against Torture (LIFAT) to augment access to justice for victims of torture via public interest litigation. In 2003, IMLU was registered as a non-governmental organization.
From a small unit providing services on volunteer basis, IMLU has developed a global reputation as an effective bulwark against torture in Kenya. In the 2011-2016 Strategic Plan, IMLU's running theme is from 'Speaking Out' to 'Enhancing Prevention and Accountability for acts of Torture'.