AJS launched to shore up court operations

Friday, August 28th, 2020 00:00 |
Chief Justice David Maraga and his deputy Philomena Mwilu and EU ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue yesterday at Supreme Court during the launch of the Alternative Justice System. Photo/PD/JOHN OCHIENG

As Kenya marks 10 years since the promulgation of the new Constitution, the Judiciary yesterday launched the Alternative Justice System (AJS) policy which will help reduce case backlog in the courts.

Chief Justice David Maraga who launched the policy noted the choice to launch AJS during the 10th anniversary of the Constitution was not accidental as it is the mandate of the Judiciary to employ all mechanisms to resolve disputes.

“The Judiciary has through all its blueprints envisioned enhancing access to justice through embracing alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. 

The policy has made use of various provisions of the Constitution to guide both dispute resolution and prevention,” he said.

Maraga noted that the new Constitution set Kenyans on a path of renewal and transformation.

“If you look back to the Judiciary that served Kenyans 10 years ago and compare it with the institution as it is today, you will agree with me that we have come a very long way indeed,” he said.

Painstaking efforts

According to the CJ, the promulgation of the Constitution marked the end of many years of painstaking effort by Kenyans

“Indeed the Judiciary has done a lot to reduce the interface with Wanjiku while guiding the country to become a constitutional democracy guided by the rule of law and other values enshrined in our constitution,” he said.

Maraga noted that most Kenyans communities have for generations developed their own justice systems that have held and continue to hold communities together.

“While justice dispensed through court occupied the centre stage in the administration of justice the reality is that the vast majority of disputes as much as 30 percent among Kenyan are resolved through AJS,” he said.

Maraga noted that the policy not only charts a clear path for human rights as commanded by the Constitution but guides operationalisation of AJS not only in the Judiciary but the entire justice system.

 “The realisation of constitutional nirvana does not come entirely from a single day event, but form the unwavering dedication of many stakeholders who must protect it and nurture it into a national way of life,” said Maraga.

Maraga said the AJS holds great promise in enhancing access to justice in a holistic sense as it makes clear recommendations and viable options on how judicial system and AJS can interact.

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu said the Constitution was a liberation tool, not only for the people but the Judiciary, echoing Maraga. 

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