NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 15 – Kenya’s Judiciary announced Sunday the suspension of key operations, as part of measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus which was confirmed in the country on Friday.
A 27-year-old woman was confirmed to have coronavirus after jetting in from the US via London on March 5, and 22 people who came in contact with her are already quarantined.
on Sunday, Chief Justice David Maraga announced the suspension of civil and criminal cases, two days after the government banned public gatherings and meetings.
“We shall forthwith scale down court activities throughout the country for a period of two weeks in order to allow further consultations and design appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Hearings and mentions of all civil cases in all courts are hereby suspended with immediate effect,” said Maraga said. Foreign travel by judges and Judiciary staff was also suspended for a month.
Maraga however, said judicial officers will continue to go to work but there will be no open court session. “Courts will only handle certificates of urgency and taking plea for serious cases.”
He said judges in all the stations will review deserving cases already identified by prisons authorities and issue appropriate revision orders in an effort to decongest the prisons
“The magistrate courts will also review bail terms for those in remand,” he said.
Prisoners and remandees will not be taken to court so as to avoid exposing them to potential risk of contracting the virus that has killed more than 4000 people and infected over 100,000 worldwide.
Maraga has also banned judicial officers from foreign travel for the next 30 days “save for exceptional circumstances,”
The government on Friday banned all public gatherings, including inter-school events and conferences.