The undersigned organisations are gravely concerned about recent reports of events affecting the judiciary in the Seychelles. The developments in Seychelles have the potential to affect the actual and perceived independence of the court.
Multiple international guidelines and best practice standards highlight the crucial importance of the independence of the judiciary. The Latimer House Principles recognised that “an independent, impartial, honest and competent judiciary is integral to upholding the rule of law, engendering public confidence and dispensing justice.” This principle is reiterated in section 119 (2) of the Constitution of Seychelles which guarantees the independence of the judiciary and makes it subject only to the Constitution and laws of the country.
On the 1st of September, 2017 the Supreme Court of Kenya annulled the Presidential election held on the 8th of August 2017 and ordered a re-run within 60 days. The ruling was made as a result of a petition by the leader of the opposition, Raila Odinga, in which he sought nullification of the results of the elections on the basis that it was marred by breaches of the law and many irregularities.
In annulling the elections, the court per, Maraga CJ writing the majority judgment in 4 - 2 decision said: "Taking the totality of the entire evidence, we are satisfied that the elections were not conducted in accordance to the dictates of the constitution".
In its ruling the court emphasised that the re-run be conducted " in conformity with the Constitution and the applicable laws". In so holding the court affirmed that the credibility of the Kenyan elections would be judged by the extent to which they comply with constitutional principles.
The main theme for the conference is derived from a vision for a three-fold transformation of Practice, Policy and Perceptions in Judiciary and Community Justice Institutions (CJI) collaboration. The Conference influenced attitudes and behaviours across the entire value-chain of justice delivery from the community to the highest courts of the land in order to foster greater synergy, mutual support, and collaboration. It focused on existing practices (especially good practices) and policies; lessons learnt across different legal jurisdictions (e.g. Anglophone, Lusophone, Francophone and Arabophone); gaps; opportunities; solutions and innovations. The conference featured key stakeholders including; CJI practitioners, judges, policy makers, representatives of lawyers, police, development partners, academics, traditional or faith leaders and others.
Our primary goals were to promote the collaboration between the Judiciary and home-grown/Community Justice, to formalize this collaboration and to appeal for a formal recognition of the work of paralegals, home-grown/community Justice Institutions on the African continent. There were many topics covered during the conference and the panellists amongst which, Chief justices, Ministers, deputy ministers, academics, United Nation representatives, Representatives of Civil Society Organisations, Representatives of diplomatic missions, did an outstanding job of sharing their expertise with the participants.
Senior Researcher Ms Tabeth Masengu will be undertaking a year long research stay in Ghent Belgium. This is part of her joint PhD programme and it commences from 1 September 2017. Tabeth is the first member of the law faculty and law PhD student registered at UCT to undertake a joint doctoral programme and is a pioneer in this regard. Her research questions interrogates the formal and informal aspects of the judicial appointment process that impede women's ascension to the bench. Her dissertation uses South Africa and Zambia as case studies and delves further into a research interest that created the Gender transformation arm of the DGRU work.