Judiciary to focus on the poor, vulnerable under new programme
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have agreed to focus on
programmes that lay emphasis on the poor and vulnerable in the Kenyan society.
Speaking during a meeting at the Supreme Court with the UNODC delegation that was led by the organisation’s Deputy Director - Division of Operations, Bo Mathiasen, Chief Justice Martha Koome said the two institutions have mounted the transformative Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery (PLEAD), which enters its second phase from March this year.
The Chief Justice said the programme will support ongoing initiatives and new ones on administering justice responsively and innovatively, reaching the most vulnerable in Kenyan society, which is in line with the Social Transformation through Access to Justice (STAJ) vision of the Judiciary.
“The desired outcomes under PLEAD II include strengthened administration of justice through improved coordination of the justice sector, more significant application of non-custodial measures, and use of alternative justice systems (AJS), with an emphasis on vulnerable groups,” she explained.
CJ Koome added that the programme will lead to enhanced capacity of criminal justice institutions, increased capacity of the criminal justice system to fight corruption and additional access to legal aid, especially for the poor and vulnerable.
The programme involves institutions within the justice chain from the commencement of a case to its conclusion through the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ). PLEAD II for instance covers the NCAJ, National Police Service, ODPP, Judiciary, Probation and Aftercare Services, Directorate of Children Services, and the Witness Protection Agency.
Mathiasen, who was accompanied by among others the UNODC Regional Representative Neil Walsh, on his part said they will support initiatives that enhance access to justice such as alternatives to imprisonment.
“The other issue is the settlement of small cases; the alternative justice system where you try to solve problems early on to avoid clogging the formal justice system, which is not just a problem in the Kenyan justice system but across the world,” he told the meeting.
The overall objective and expected impact of PLEAD II is to enhance access to justice through increased efficiency and accountability in the justice system and harness technology as an enabler of justice.
Priorities include digital solutions for public service delivery and civic engagement; Environmental sustainability and resilience, public accountability and the fight against corruption; and human development and inclusive growth.
Under PLEAD I, strategic interventions focused on strengthening court administration and case management; increasing the quality and efficiency in the criminal justice system; and improving cooperation throughout the justice sector.
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