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Let’s put people at centre of our justice system, says judge

Monday, June 10th, 2024 08:25 | By
Court of Appeal judge Justice Paul Gachoka.
Court of Appeal judge Justice Paul Gachoka. PHOTO/Print

The Court of Appeal judge, Justice Paul Gachoka, has said it is imperative that people are put at the centre of the justice system as a measure to achieve justice for all.

Gachoka reiterated that the Judiciary cannot achieve public trust and confidence in the judicial system without the support and collaboration of its’ stakeholders.

He was speaking during an open-day programme themed “Enhancing public trust and confidence in the judicial systems through stakeholder engagement, awareness, and sensitisation.”

Justice Gachoka said that trust and confidence are outcomes of Judicial processes that are responsive to individuals’ needs and communities, particularly the marginalised and vulnerable.

“Within this context, the Judiciary is entering the ethos of accountability to the extent of preserving its honour and authority,” said Justice Gachoka.

“Corruption and perceptions of corruption in the Judiciary not only undermine the court’s credibility in the fight against corruption but also erode the court’s impartiality, harming all the co-judicial functions,” Justice Gachoka averred.

He added that corruption is a global challenge that is akin to a pandemic which has permeated all sectors of society and hinders development, erodes public trust, undermines the rule of law, and promotes inequality in society.

The Appeal Court Judge stated that winning this war is not simple since it requires multiple collaborative approaches by all stakeholders, therefore the need to act together to secure the rule of law.

“As stakeholders, we play a critical role in the fight against corruption,” Gachoka said, adding that “we have the responsibility to safeguard the interests of Kenyans and protect all Kenyans, especially the vulnerable, because there is a strong correlation between corruption, poverty, and inequality.”

He said the Constitution demands that the judiciary not only remove barriers to accessing justice but also take effective steps to engage with the public and other stakeholders in the administration of justice.

Further, Justice Gachoka said that integrity and accountability are co-fundamental values and principles of the constitutional system; therefore, they must work together for enhanced public confidence in governance institutions.

Feedback, he added, not only enables them to contextualise justice needs and capabilities but also drives them to be accountable and improve the processes and performance of their courts.

Speaking at the event, the High Court Presiding Judge currently serving at the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Division (ACEC), Lady Justice Esther Maina, said that the vibrancy of the programme not only demonstrates the dedication of the court’s administration but also the significant contributions of all stakeholders.

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