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CJ: Kenya’s Criminal Justice system is 'criminal'

03 July 2013, 18:52 Oduor Omondi

Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga has said that the sustained judicial transformation across the country has tremendously reduced the backlog of cases in Kisumu station with over 500 of them having been handled in the past two months by the three recently posted appellate judges.

Dr. Mutunga said that Court of Appeal Judges Justice Onyango Otieno, Justice Festus Azangalala and Justice Ole Kantai have so far determined 43 Criminal Appeal Cases - 1 Criminal Application, 17 Civil Appeal cases and 18 Criminal Applications at Kisumu since April, 2013.

The CJ admitted that Kenya’s Criminal Justice system was itself 'criminal' and so the need to push on with the judicial transformation process, arguing that justice delayed is justice denied.

He revealed that there were 6, 701 pending cases across the country, which could take up to 8 years to determine, but owing to the commitment on the part of Judges, the judiciary has started registering tremendous progress towards reducing the backlog.

Speaking on Monday when he officially launched the court of appeal in Kisumu, Dr. Mutunga disclosed that criminal appeal cases still remain the highest with several suspects in this category being held for unnecessarily long periods in the cells as the cases drag on.

He disclosed that 22 Court of Appeal Judges have so far been appointed in the last 2 years, adding that each County will have its own High Court in line with the new devolved system of governance.

Mobile court visits in remote areas

“There are a further 564 pending cases at Kisumu with 59 of them having been transferred from Nairobi,” he stated, pointing out that they also plan to start mobile court visits in remote areas of Western Kenya and other parts of the country.

Dr. Mutunga confided that the Judiciary plans to buy a motor boat to serve Homabay and other islands to bring Justice closer to the citizens and save them from pain of travelling long distances to seek the service.

Council of Elders to facilitate hearing and determination of cases

“We also anticipate using respective Council of Elders to facilitate hearing and determination of cases, especially to the very poor in society who could hardly raise the monies required to file appeal cases in Nairobi as has been the trend in the past,” he explained.

He reassured the public that the Court of Appeal being the topmost institution should take the lead in promoting Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the Judiciary, adding that staff gaps, reconciling and re-training will be prioritized.

Prof. Christine Mango on behalf of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Chairman said 15 Court of Appeal Judges, 28 High Court Judges, 15 Land and Environment Judges, 12 Industrial Court Judges and 23 Kadhi Court Judges have so far been recruited alongside 109 Magistrates.

Prof. Mango said that since their team took over the reins at JSC, the paltry budget of KES 3.9billion allocated to the Judiciary in 2009 has been raised to KES 9billion (in 2011) and finally to KES 16billion (in 2012) thus enabling them to pay better salaries to staff for motivation.

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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