‘No case should continue longer than 3 years!’ CJ Koome says as she formally assumes office


'No case should continue longer than 3 years!' CJ Koome says as she formally assumes ...
Chief Justice Martha Koome speaks on May 24, 2021 when she formally assumed office. PHOTO / COURTESY / JUDICIARY

Chief Justice Martha Koome on Monday officially assumed office, promising to ensure that no case remains in the justice system for longer than 3 years at any given time.

This, she said, would be a continuation of retired CJ David Maraga’s tenure which focused on ensuring that all cases above 5 years in all courts were concluded.

“This is a target that is possible to achieve if we all embraced a case management system and the multi-door approaches that are now available to us such as the court users committees, court annexed mediation, small claims court and alternative justice system,” she said.

The CJ also pledged to embrace the use of technology, as was occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, starting with the expansion of the electronic filing service as well as other ICT initiatives.

“A decade after promulgation it is imperative that we expedite some of the promises of the 2010 Constitution so that Kenyans can realize the benefits. As an institution that generates almost Kshs. 3 billion shillings annually, this revenue can be an important first step in addressing some of the challenges we currently face,” she noted.

“We will continue to build the case for additional funding and a sustainable budget for these investments and judiciary functions based on our track record and the needs of Kenyans. My role is to advocate for the resources to ensure that the structures needed are physically and representationally present at every court station so that every player can enjoy the fruits of this system.”

CJ Koome further recognized the existence of corruption within the Judiciary saying there presently exist too many such cases pending in the courts.

“…even though there are some structures for curbing corruption, such as the establishment of the Office of Judiciary Ombudsman, we have not succeeded to effectively deal with these cases,” she stated.

“As noted by former Chief Justice Mutunga in 2016, when he stated that the Judiciary was under capture by agencies within government, the private sector and civil society. This continues to be an active threat to the independence of the judiciary.”

She also pledged to respect and enforce the independence of judges and magistrates, however noting that the Judiciary will be accountable in service delivery while working with government and other stakeholders.

“In my courts, I am well known for regularly saying: “Let me conclude this matter.” This is the same attitude and energy that I bring to the office of the Chief Justice,” added CJ Koome.

“If there are cases to be heard, let us conclude them. If there are problems to be solved, let us resolve them. If there are barriers to overcome, let us overcome them. If there are changes to be made, let us make them.”

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