, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – The International Commission of Jurists has warned that the decision to slash down Judiciary budget allocations will have negative impact on the delivery of justice to Kenyan citizens.
Addressing members of the press on Friday, ICJ Chairman Kelvin Mogeni said the cuts will lead to stalling of 41 government-funded projects, which are currently at various stages of completion, suspension of mobile courts, derailment of the case backlog clearance and discontinuation of new constructions.
“Funds are a key enabler for achieving access to justice for the people. Without funds, the Judiciary is unable to function properly; the Judiciary bears the burden of ensuring access to justice to people. It therefore requires a substantial amount from the national budget to fulfil all the constitutional obligations,” he said.
Mogeni said denying Judiciary funds will lead to an increase in corruption cases in the judiciary as well as erosion of transparency and accountability.
ICJ accused Parliament of using budget cuts as an instrument of punishing the Judiciary for the decisions made by the courts.
For instance in 2015, Members of Parliament threatened to undertake budgetary cuts after the court ruled that the Constituency Development Fund was unconstitutional.
In 2017, the Judiciary and a number of Independent Offices and Constitutional Commissions faced budget cuts as the government sought to raise money for the fresh presidential election and enhanced free day secondary education.
In June 2018, the medical insurance cover for all judges and its employees was suspended over insufficiency of funds.
In the financial 2018/2019, Judiciary had been allocated Sh17.3 billion but was further slashed down to Sh14.5 billion by Parliament through the Appropriation Act.
According to ICJ the slashing of the budget is linked to National Government threats to ‘revisit’ the Judiciary.
“ICJ Kenya notes with great concern that the actions by the other two arms of government to strangle and curtail the operations of the Judiciary through budgetary restrictions amounts to a grave violation of the Constitution and attack to the Kenyan democracy and the rule of law,” he said.
In July this year, Chief Justice David Maraga warned that 70 projects are headed to halt after the drastic budgetary cuts.