Britain's High Court has ruled that three Kenyans tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule can proceed with compensation claims against the British government.

The case involves Kenyans who say they were beaten and sexually assaulted by officers acting for the British administration trying to suppress the "Mau Mau" rebellion in the 1950s. Groups of Kenyans had attacked British officials and white farmers who had settled in some of Kenya's most fertile lands.

The Kenyans say the British were aware they were being mistreated, and want compensation.

The British government sought to have the case dismissed, arguing it could not be held legally responsible for the long-ago abuses. It argued that the liabilities of the colonial administration passed to the Kenyan government on independence in 1963.