Integrated centres epitomize judiciary success in 2021

Integrated centres epitomize judiciary success in 2021

THE official launch of six Integrated Justice Centres (IJCs) made by President Samia Suluhu Hassan aimed at drawing justice services closer to the people is one of the major things the Judiciary of Tanzania made in 2021.

In the 2020/2021 financial year, the Judiciary of Tanzania completed the construction of the IJCs in regions of Dodoma, Arusha, Morogoro and Dar es Salaam (Temeke and Kinondoni), while another centre is being constructed in Mwanza region and now in the final stages.

While IJCs constructed in Dodoma, Arusha and Mwanza comprises all court levels from the Primary Court, District Court, Resident Magistrate’s Court, High Court and Court of Appeal, those constructed in Dar es Salaam are of unique nature, as they comprise only three levels of courts.

The IJC of Temeke, which comprises three court levels of Primary Court, District Court and the High Court alone, has been designed as a special centre for determining family-related cases, which includes marriage and divorce disputes as well as probate and administration of estates cases.

It has also been learned that the center constructed at Kinondoni also comprises three levels of courts of Primary Court, District Court and Resident Magistrate’s Court. The centre has been designed to handle all normal cases.

The centres were constructed by the Judiciary of Tanzania in collaboration with the World Bank through the Citizen-Centric Judicial Modernization of Justice Service Delivery include not only all levels of courts, but also offices of some judicial stakeholders, notably the police, social welfare, advocates and prosecutors.

It is stated that the purpose of keeping all levels of courts within the same building as well as the stakeholders’ offices is to facilitate and enhance the effectiveness of rendering of justice services.

Another purpose for such centres is reducing the cost for wananchi of pursuing justice services in different offices where a citizen is forced to spend money and time in following up such judicial services.

Access to collaborative services in such buildings will give the public the opportunity to spend less time accessing judicial services and increase the time to engage in productive and social activities rather than spending much time moving around different court corridors to pursue justice.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the centres, President Samia expressed her satisfaction with the construction done which reflects the true value of the money spent due to the quality she witnessed immediately after visiting one of the Dodoma Center which cost more than 9bn/-.

President Samia praised the architect and arrangements of the building for having the services of people with special needs as well as a room, where a mother could sit to feed her baby, an arrangement she ad- mitted was pleased with.

“Compared to the Courts we have before, a breastfeed- ing mother could hide in the alley to breastfeed her baby and cause discomfort, so I must admit what are in this building have made me very happy,” said President Samia.

In addition, the president thanked the development partners, especially the World Bank, for funding the judicial rehabilitation project, including the construction of the centers through loan funds.

She, thus, called on all stakeholders of the justice system to fulfill their responsibilities effectively, including not delaying the hearing of cases so that justice is available to the people in a timely manner.

President Samia promised that the government will continue to empower the judiciary of Tanzania in carrying out its responsibilities, be it in the budget from the government or talking to stakeholders to obtain loans or grants so that judicial activities could be carried out effectively.

“I am aware that the construction of the Headquarters is not yet complete. We will enable you to complete the project so that if possible it can be completed ahead of schedule which is December 2022,” she said.

President Samia also promised to increase the number of staff of the judiciary and improve the working environment depending on opportunities that would available so that justice could be dispensed timely.

She commended the judiciary for strengthening the use of Information and Communication Technology, including registering and hearing cases online, a move she described as a major revolution that has not only accelerated the prosecution and decision-making process, but also curbed corruption.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Chief Justice of Tanzania, Prof Ibrahim Juma revealed that the Judiciary of Tanzania recorded a new his- tory following the completion of the construction of the IJCs, making Tanzania the first country in Africa to provide integrated justice services un- der one roof.

Prof Juma explained that the integrated facilities would also enable Tanzania to increase the scoring of justice services in the scales of citizens to be satisfied with the quality of services being delivered.

“These centers will also support the evaluation of the Judiciary of Tanzania on international standards, for example Doing Business Report, a survey that assesses social attitudes in various economic and social issues including the rule of law and justice,” he said.

The Chief Justice said that the launch of the justice centers was a major investment with a multiplier effect in achieving the five key objectives set out in the National Development Vision 2025 and that the event was an important step in the long journey of the Judiciary to bring justice close to the people.

“Today is the day when the concept of the primary responsibility of the government, to enable the judiciary in facilitating the delivery of justice is emerging,” he said.

The Chief Justice mentioned some of the benefits that would be available to the people following the launch of such centers as reducing the costs and time spent on citizens in pursuing justice services as well as running costs of administrative and judicial activities.

He said that the centers would also assist in the management and monitoring of the provision of judicial services to be delivered timely and in a day-to-day manner, unlike the current situation.

According to the Chief Justice, the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in such centers would reduce operating costs through the use of systems that would reduce the use of ink, paper, files, pens and other materials which have had a large budget in operation.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Constitution and Legal Affairs, Prof Pala- magamba Kabudi, explained that the construction of the centers is an implementation of the CCM Manifesto of 2015 and 2020 and thanked President Samia for the government to ensure that the ICJ's are completed.

He pointed out further that the inauguration of the centers comes as the nation was celebrating 60 years of independence, where Tanzania has made great strides in various fields, including the Judiciary of Tanzania.

“Today we celebrate 60 years of our independence with modern courts and the best courts that are not only the best in Tanzania but also a role model in the African continent,” the minister said.

He added, “This country, Tanzania which was far be- hind when we gained independence in East and Central Africa, today it is a leader, today it is a beacon, today it is a role model. Congratulations to Her Excellence President for this success,” he said.

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