, ARUSHA, Tanzania Nov 9 – The third African Judicial Dialogue kicked off in Arusha Thursday, with calls for courts in the continent to embrace modern technology.
Top judges and other judicial officials attending the forum emphasized the need to move with global trends as opposed to sticking to the old ways of doing things.
This, many said, will help improve efficiency in justice delivery.
“Our entire life is now driven by modern technology and justice being an integral part of our life cannot lag behind,” said Ferdinand Wambali, a Principal Judge in Tanzania, and added that it is the only way of “coping with current developments in the electronic age, Courts should streamline virtually all their judicial and administrative process through new information communication and storage technology.”
The meeting was organised by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) under the auspices of the African Union (AU), which was earlier planned from 8 to 10 November in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
More than 150 delegates from AU Member States, including Chief Justices, Presidents of Supreme and Constitutional Courts from the 55 AU Member States, as well as regional and international judicial bodies and other relevant stakeholders were in attendance.
The President of the court Justice Sylvain Ore was more emphatic on the need for courts to embrace continuous training and education for judicial staff to enable them carry out their mandate.
“An effective justice system that interprets and applies the law fairly, impartially and without undue delay is fundamental to citizens’ rights a well functioning economy, “he told participants at the meeting.
Karin Pluberg, who represented the German Technical Cooperation (GiZ) said there is need to embrace the development of human rights jurisprudence at the regional and continental level to be able to inspire national constitutional jurisprudence.
“The different layers of legal systems need to work hand in hand and in order to guarantee a sound protection of the citizens, they need to do so in a harmonised way,” she said.
She too agrees that there is need to introduce digital solutions in the justice system “in order not to lose the connection to, especially, the young generation.”
The African Dialogue is organized in collaboration with the World Bank, the German Cooperation (GiZ) and the European Union (EU).
The Arusha-based court was established under Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to complement the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights with a view to enhancing the protection of human rights on the continent.
Justice Oré has always emphasized that the success of the Court as a human rights protection mechanism requires much wider ratification of the Protocol by Member States, as well as their acceptance of the competence of the Court by making the Declaration under Article 34(6). This “universal” ratification will give the Court the legitimacy it needs to effectively discharge its mandate