Justice Twea hopes court circuits will promote access to justice

Justice Edward Twea of the Supreme Court says the introduction of mobile courts known as court circuits will ease challenges that people face in accessing justice.

Twea who is also the chairman for National Child Justice Forum said this on Thursday during the district coordination meeting on child justice held at Thyolo district magistrate court.

He said the meeting was aimed at tackling issues pertaining to sexual gender based violence as well as highlighting court circuits guidelines in as far as access to justice is concerned.

“We are looking at issues of sexual gender based violence and also the introduction of court circuits. The court circuits mean moving the court from the district center to other sectors where the court does not sit. In this case, there are only two child justice magistrates in Thyolo so we want to have standards made outside Thyolo Boma in order to have maximum impact on the resources that are available to enable community members that used to travel to Thyolo boma, to access justice nearby,” said Twea.

Twea further said that he thought it wise to engage different stakeholders saying they   also have responsibility in the fight against sexual gender based violence.

“Chiefs are part of the child protection institutions and are the custodians of the people so they have responsibility to work with state institutions ensuring that people properly serviced and women and girls are protected.  We do also work with social welfare who are the primary duty bearers in terms of children,” added Twea.

He expressed hope that with the introduction of these court circuits, people from the hard to reach areas will be able to file a complaint cases in these mobile courts.

Thyolo district has nine courts out of which only four courts are functional currently. The district also has only two professional magistrates.

In an interview, the senior court clerk for Thyolo, David Kapoloma who is also acting committee service officer said the meeting was fruitful as he has learnt a lot saying that the court circuits (mobile court) will make vulnerable people access justice.

“To be honest, this component will help a lot of people especially vulnerable who are there at the village far away from the justice agents because the court will be moving from Thyolo to whether Nsabwe, Mphuka or Thukuta. And this will help people from such areas not to move long distance so that they will not spent even a single Tambala for transport to come to court to present their evidence or whatever.

“This will mean that justice will be provided while they are there at their villages and this will help indeed such that many cases which were failing to take place here will take place light there and this will provide a chance to each and every perpetrator to be tried and convicted,” said Kapoloma.

Group village head Nchilamwera also concurred with Kapoloma saying that they have been guided as chiefs on how to handle child cases including defilement and rape cases.

The district coordinatination meeting on child justice brought together state actors, Non-Governmental Organizations, religious leaders, chiefs and other community leaders.