Swaziland: ICJ mission to examine independence and accountability of the judiciary
From 11-15 May 2015, the mission will meet with a variety of stakeholders, including officials in the executive, the Ministry of Justice, the judiciary, members of Parliament, the legal profession, media, political analysts and civil society.
The International Fact Finding Mission in Swaziland (IFFM-SZ) is led by the ICJ, in collaboration with the Africa Judges and Jurists Forum (AJJF), Judges for Judges Netherlands (J4J) and the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA).
The mission aims, among other things, to:
- Assess the domestic legal framework (constitutional, legislative and administrative) and practice as it pertains to the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession in Swaziland;
- Identify obstacles posed – legal, structural, and practical – by the state of the independence of the judiciary to the capacity of the judiciary to fairly administer justice, including in relation to the protection of human rights;
- Gather information on and assess the relations between the critical stakeholders in the justice delivery chain;
- Gather information and assess the operations of the Chief Justice’s office in key delivery areas, such as the case management system (including the allocation and tracking of cases);
- Consider practice directives on administration of justice;
- Evaluate systems and practices for the appointment and disciplining of judicial officers and support staff;
- Assess whether an adequate programme of continuous legal education is in place for judicial officers; uphold the institutional and individual independence of the judiciary; and
- Assess the availability of access to justice.
The mission will rely on international human rights law and standards.
After the completion of the field meetings and interviews, ICJ will release a report detailing its findings and recommendations directed to key stakeholders for their consideration and implementation.
The ICJ is committed to supporting all stakeholders in strengthening the independence of the judiciary, the legal profession and observance of the rule of law in Swaziland.
The mission comes against the background of a number of recent developments of concern for the independence and accountability of the judiciary in the country.
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The mission team is composed of Judge Moses Chinhengo (of Ruwa, Harare, Zimbabwe, retired High Court Judge Botswana and Zimbabwe; ICJ Commissioner; Interim Chair AJJF, Head of the IFFM-SZ) ; Judge Charles Mkandawire (of Lilongwe, Malawi, High Court Malawi; ICJ Commissioner; Regional President-CMJA and member of the IFFM-SZ) ; Judge Oagile Dingake (of Gaborone, Botswana, Professor of Public Law at University of Cape Town, Judge Residual Special Court of Sierra Leone, Judge High Court Botswana; member of the IFFM-SZ) ; and Judge Tamara Trotman (of The Hague, Netherlands, Judge of Court of Appeal in The Hague, Chair Judges for Judges, member of the IFFM-SZ).
The judges are supported by technical staff: Laurens Hueting (Legal Adviser, ICJ-Centre for Independence of Judges and Lawyers), Otto Saki (Senior Legal Adviser, ICJ-Africa Regional Programme) and Justice Mavedzenge (ICJ Consultant and University of Cape Town PhD Candidate and Rapporteur).
Arnold Tsunga, Director, ICJ Africa Regional Programme Director, t: +27731318411 ; e: arnold.tsunga(a)icj.org
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