Judiciary Office aims to better serve the public this year
The Office of the Judiciary hosted the opening of the Legal Year 2019 at the Supreme Court this week, with the President, HE Dr Hage Geingob as guest speaker.
Hon. Peter Shivute, Chief Justice said the occasion affords them an opportunity in the Judiciary to reflect on the year past and to share with the public what plans they have for the future.
“After all, as judicial officers, we are servants of the people and the Constitution to whom we are ultimately accountable, because accountability by public officials is the core value underpinning or Constitution,” he added.
Shivute gave a brief rundown of the activities of the courts for the 2018 Legal Year, and highlighted the flaws and strengths during the period under review.
According to Shivute, public confidence in the administration of justice is a key to the legitimacy of the Judiciary, because the public must be satisfied that judicial decisions are impartial and grounded only in the Constitution and the law.
“The corollary of that is that the adjudication process must be fair and expeditious, therefore we shall also strive to make the public better informed and educated abut the role and functions of the courts through public outreach programmes,” he added.
Shivute acknowledged that the challenges ahead are enormous but they must prove equal to the task, and not squander the opportunity given to them to serve the public, diligently and with integrity.
“Resources constrains must never be the excuse for not trying to bring out the best in use, therefore let us enter 2019 with renewed hope and optimism, let us go out to make a difference in the lives of the communities we serve,” he added.
At the event Shivute also unveiled the Strategic Plan 2018/2019-2021/2022, which sets out in greater detail the activities and programmes they are going to undertake to achieve the objectives he just set out.
Meanwhile, the President emphasised that 2019 is the year of accountability, therefore deep introspection is required.
According to Geingob questions like; has there been sufficient transformation in the justice sector to reflect the changing dynamic of a nation that has emerged from a divisive past?, are we doing enough to ensure access to law and access to justice for all?, are we doing enough to ensure the wellness, professional growth and specialisation of your human resources and is justice being applied fairly, justly and swiftly?, have to be answered.
The President confirmed that he is aware of the public’s frustration with aspect of the criminal justice system, such as the long delays in the finalisation of cases in the lower courts.
“This public frustration is attributed to the long delays between arrest, appointment of legal aid counsel, first appearance at curt and the ultimate finalisation of criminal cases, justice delayed is justice denied,” he added.
Geingob urged all institutions involved in the criminal justice system to cooperate and coordinate their activities with the aim of ensuring that the people are better served by the criminal justice system.
“I have full confidence that our judiciary has the talent and intellectual capacity to help maintain unity in our Namibia House, to safeguard the liberty of our people and to ensure justice for all Namibians. With these words, I am pleased to declare 2019 Legal Year officially open,” he concluded.