''I have simply decided that these claimants have arguable cases in law.''
The test case claimants, Ndiku Mutwiwa Mutua, Paulo Muoka Nzili, Wambugu Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara, who are in their 70s and 80s, flew 4,000 miles from their rural homes for the trial this spring which concentrated on events in detention camps between 1952 and 1961.
They were not in court for the judgment today but were attending a press conference in Nairobi.
At the earlier hearing the judge was told that Mr Mutua and Mr Nzili had been castrated, Mr Nyingi was beaten unconscious in an incident in which 11 men were clubbed to death, and Mrs Mara had been subjected to appalling sexual abuse.
But the FCO argued that legal responsibility was transferred to the Kenyan Republic upon independence in 1963.
The solicitors for the Kenyans, Leigh, Day & Co, hailed it as a "historic judgment".
It was welcomed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who said: "Responding with generosity to the plea of the Kenyan victims is not a matter of legal niceties. No, it is about morality, about magnanimity and humaneness, about compassion."
Martyn Day, senior partner at Leigh Day & Co, said: "Our clients are delighted that the High Court has rejected the British Government's arguments so emphatically. It is an outrage that the British Government is dealing with victims of torture so callously.
"We call on the British Government to deal with these victims of torture with the dignity and respect they deserve and to meet with them and their representatives in order to resolve the case amicably".
Source: The Telegraph