Parliament has passed the draft law determining the organisation and functioning of the Judiciary.
The new law was passed as a necessity, especially after the adoption of the country’s Constitution in 2003 and its later revision in 2015.
The Chairperson of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Political Affairs, Alfred Rwasa Kayiranga, told members that the new law will facilitate the smooth functioning of the Judiciary.
“After the adoption of Constitution of 2003 revised in 2015, it was found necessary to review some laws relating to the judiciary. In order to achieve its goal, the Judiciary has realised that the review of those laws was necessary to facilitate the smooth functioning of the organ,” Rwasa said.
“Among the laws are those relating to the organisation, jurisdiction and functioning of the judiciary that must be harmonised and compiled in one legal text.”
What is new?
The High Council of the Judiciary is the supreme organ governing the Judiciary and in charge of setting general guidelines governing the organisation of the Judiciary.
The president of Court of Appeal and the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court are among members of High Council of Judiciary so that Office of the Registrar is also represented.
In this draft law, the judge of the Supreme Court elected by his colleagues was removed because the Supreme Court is already represented by the president and vice-president and will be composed by five judges only.
In ordinary court, a Court of Appeal was added and there will be a single judge unless the president decides otherwise something that was done to help in handling cases on time and in reducing backlog in Supreme Court.
In the intermediate court, there will be a Chamber in charge of economic crimes, while the ordinary chamber will handle minors’ cases and family matters whereas the labour chamber will be combined with both labour and administrative issues.
But MP Juvenal Nkusi expressed his worry over what he said could be a conflict of responsibilities.
“This is a law that gives way for other laws that will be established. However, I am seeing that there is an Executive Secretary and then an Executive in the Supreme Court and I suspect that there could be a clash of duties,” he said.
The Spokesperson of the Judiciary, Emmanuel Itamwa Mahame, told The New Times that the new law will make accessing information concerning the judicial operations way easier as compared to the past, where laws governing the institution were scattered.
“Previously, there was a law that governed the High Council of the Judiciary, and then there was one that governed the management of the Supreme Court and several other different laws concerning the judiciary. But the new law now means that all the laws to do with the Judiciary and its functions are going to be combined in one and this make access to information even easier,” he said.