London—On October 5, lawyer Martyn Day walked out the front door of London’s High Court to greet a throng of ravenous reporters gathered outside. He was there to tell them what they were hungry to hear—that the British Empire is now on trial. Earlier that day, the court ruled that three elderly Kenyans who were tortured and abused by British colonial officers in the 1950s can move forward with their claims against the British government. In dismissing the objections of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that today’s Britain is not to blame for the wrongs of its colonial forebears and that too much time has elapsed for a fair trial, the High Court removed the claimants’ last barrier. The case can now go to trial. For the first time, colonial victims can sue the British state.

“This is an...

You do not currently have access to this content.