Zimbabwe: ICJ partners with Zimbabwe’s Judicial Service Commission to improve justice service delivery

The ICJ, in collaboration with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of the Republic of Zimbabwe, has concluded a two-day Judicial Symposium on the theme ‘Core-Skilling: Towards a Human Rights Jurisprudence’, organized to mark the end of the second judicial term in the Zimbabwe judicial calendar.

In his remarks at the opening of the symposium, ICJ’s Africa Regional Director, Mr Arnold Tsunga, noted that the theme of the symposium had been carefully chosen to enhance discourse on national transformation in an atmosphere of respect for the rule of law and international human rights. He noted further that the symposium was to critique the concept of transformative adjudication and explore its relevance to applying the Constitution of Zimbabwe as an instrument and framework for national transformation.

Noting that the ICJ appreciated its on-going partnership with the JSC in Zimbabwe, Mr Tsunga expressed the hope that the training and symposium would enhance the effectiveness of the judiciary with a view to improving access to justice for all, especially victims of human rights violations, women, marginalized and vulnerable groups and contributing to attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals number 16 and 5.

On his part, in his opening remarks the Chief Justice of the Republic of Zimbabwe, the Hon. Chief Justice Malaba, noted that the ICJ-JSC organized symposia have provided a platform for continuous improvement of judicial work  and networking amongst judges.

Chief Justice Malaba observed that these meetings have enabled judges to dialogue on how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the justice delivery system. He noted that this year’s theme on human rights jurisprudence lies at the heart of an independent and effective judiciary.

He further noted that the current Constitution of Zimbabwe has a better framework and potential for the protection of human rights than previous constitutions. Accordingly, he expressed the view that the judiciary has a more important role to play in protecting and safeguarding human rights.

He highlighted that the judiciary’s commitment to the protection of human rights is evidenced in local jurisprudence in respect to human rights cases, where several important judgments have been given by all the courts.

Chief Justice Malaba used the opportunity to give updates on developments which were taking place within the JSC, particularly in its research centre, in the High Court, in the Fiscal and Tax Appeals Division, amendments to the Judicial Laws which were gazetted on the 9th of September 2019.

Chief Justice Malaba stated that in performance appraisal, the JSC has constituted a Performance and Training Committee led by the Deputy Chief Justice to come up with a system that enables accurate measurement of the performance of judges.

Responding to issues of accountability raised by the Chief Justice, ICJ’s Mr Tsunga urged the JSC to develop and adopt a system to track, monitor, document and communicate results arising from these trainings, as the results would help the ICJ, and international development partners to evaluate the usefulness of the trainings and efforts at justice sector reforms.

This year’s symposium was attended by 16 female and 27 male judges from the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, High Court, Labour Court and Administrative Court of Zimbabwe.

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