Meeting with the African Judicial Network in South Africa
On March 27-28, the CEELI Institute organized the fifth roundtable session for judges of the African Judicial Network in Cape Town, South Africa. The roundtable brought together judges from Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, who, over the course of two days, discussed good judicial practices on asset recovery cases, including transnational cybercrimes and asserting judicial independence. The session also allowed time for the judges to focus on countering judicial interference and strengthening judicial governance.
The very informative two-day event featured excellent presentations by the faculty from the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Italy, South Africa, Uganda, and the United States, and rich discussions with all participants. We were particularly honored to welcome Justice Richard Goldstone, formerly of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and former Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. He stressed the importance of judicial independence and the need for all judiciaries to strive for independence in taking decisions, appointing judges, and controlling the finances of the judicial branch. Justice Goldstone highlighted the Lilongwe Principles on the selection and appointment of judicial officers as an important step towards judicial independence. These principles were presented in detail during this meeting.
Another highlight from the event was the release of the “Practical Guidelines on Case Management for Judges,” the first publication of the core group members of the African Judicial Network.
Case management is one of the most crucial elements of efficient and timely delivery of justice. Proper case management requires significant investment in funds, personnel, and equipment, as well as the development of political will, all of which are too complex to be tackled by a single project or initiative. However, individual judges in individual courtrooms can take a range of measures to significantly improve the management of their cases and reduce case backlogs. It is with those measures in mind that these guidelines have been drafted, using expertise from several network countries as well as from international partners.
We hope that this publication will be a useful tool for individual judges as well as for those responsible for developing policies and guidance for judicial practice, including members of judicial councils, court presidents, officials from judicial associations, and any other members of the judiciary who are responsible for regulating judges’ work practices.