DODOMA: THE Judiciary of Tanzania has taken steps to implement the recommendations of the Commission formed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan to improve criminal justice institutions in the country.
This was revealed yesterday by Chief Justice of Tanzania, Professor Ibrahim Juma, during the Law Day celebration held at Chinangali Parks in Dodoma at the national level.
The Chief Justice informed President Samia, who was the guest of honour, that after the commission’s recommendations, he formed a special committee with the aim of reviewing the report and providing proposals on how the judiciary should implement the various issues raised by the commission.
“The six-member committee, led by Court of Appeal Justice Dr Gerald Ndika, was guided by terms of reference, including analysing and classifying the areas concerning the judiciary and providing advice on the best way to implement them and find solutions,” he said.
Likewise, the committee classified the areas specified by the commission that need improvement by judiciary stakeholders.
The CJ stated that the committee identified 18 areas that directly concern the judiciary and six others that, although they concern other criminal justice stakeholders, may affect the duties of the judiciary.
“After these issues were discussed and accepted as the judiciary’s response to the President’s Commission, the judiciary validated and presented them to the Secretariat of the Criminal Justice Commission,” Prof Juma said.
Thus, he said, it is the responsibility of every criminal justice institution to be at the forefront of achieving improvements in the criminal justice system.
The Chief Justice took the opportunity to explain the areas of improvement that are within the power of criminal justice institutions, including the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to increase efficiency and expand the scope of services to reach more citizens.
Prof Juma explained that the use of IT is of great help in ensuring the timely and cost-effective delivery of justice and moving judicial services closer to the people.
“IT has brought and will continue to bring a greater revolution in the efficient and timely delivery of justice when the judiciary continues to closely collaborate with stakeholders and citizens.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution requires public and private institutions to ensure that their technology systems are integrated at all times to achieve efficiency and transparency in the provision of services to the public,” he said.
Thus, he pointed out that the presence of the National Communication Backbone (ICT Broadband Back-Bone) is important in connecting various court centers and courts with stakeholders and users of online judicial services.
He said it is time for public institutions that have invested heavily in technology systems to be connected so that those systems can communicate with each other through the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“The biggest task we criminal justice stakeholders have is to have a system that connects all our stakeholders to facilitate the exchange of information,” the CJ said.
He also noted that criminal justice institutions still have a lot of work to do to prepare themselves before reaching the point of integrating their IT systems so that they can fully communicate with each other and bring about the intended benefits.
“On the judiciary’s side, we have already begun to integrate our Case Management System with other systems of criminal justice stakeholders so that we can have agreements with them to exchange information on important stakeholders whose information the judiciary will need to use in making decisions,” he said.
He named some of the stakeholders as the National Prosecution Office, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Chief Government Chemist, National Identity Authority, Business Registration and Licensing Agency, and the Registration, Insolvency, and Trustee Agency.
Speaking at the event, the Attorney General (AG) Dr Eliezer Feleshi presented a special request to the government to continue strengthening the justice delivery infrastructure by allocating a budget for the construction of Government Legal Institutions Integrated Centres.
He said that these centres will be used by the Attorney General’s Office, the Solicitor General’s Office, the National Prosecution Office, and their stakeholders.
“The Integrated Centres that are being built in Ilemela Mwanza and Arusha have already shown how easy it will be for State Attorneys to conduct their activities effectively,” he said.
He added that his office will continue to cooperate with the judiciary as it carries out its constitutional responsibilities to deliver justice.
Dr Feleshi also noted that for the improvements in the criminal justice system to be successful, citizens and stakeholders who have the responsibility to appear in court should provide sincere cooperation in the various ongoing processes to improve the Criminal Justice System and the institutions involved.