KASANE: President Ian Khama has hailed chief justices, saying he hopes the interaction among the region's top legal brains will contribute to the development of the Southern African judicial systems, and improve their efficiency.
He was speaking at the opening of the recent Southern African Chief Justices Forum (SACJF) conference in Kasane.
The President observed that socio-economic development can only take place in the context of a robust, transparent, predictable and enforceable legal framework.
He challenged the delegates to consider ways in which the legal fraternity and the judicial system can work together with other sectors of the economy to make a positive contribution to economic development.
For his part, Chief Justice Julian Nganunu, who was later elected SACJF's chairman, welcomed delegates to Botswana, saying meetings of the Southern African Judges Forum are meant to provide an opportunity for judges to consult, exchange views and information on the state of the rule of law in each member state and the region. At such meetings, chief justices take stock of the capacities of the courts of their judiciaries to deliver services to their communities, and suggested improvements in this regard.
Chief Justice Nganunu also briefed his counterparts on some of the strategic reforms that the Botswana judiciary has introduced in its quest to
In a vote of thanks at the official opening session, Namibia's Chief Justice Peter Shivute praised President Khama for his seminal ideas adding that his speech laid the foundation for successful conference deliberations.
Justice Shivute also thanked the Venice Commission, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights and the International Commission of Jurists (UNCHRJ) for their support and sponsorship. He pledged that members of the SACJF are alive to the true functions of law in their countries, which include "being an instrument of social engineering, the promotion and maintenance of democracy, good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights".
The Conference received presentations on subjects including:
.the rule of law;
. socio-economic development;
.Separation of powers and judicial independence;
.Judicial review; and
Justice Nganunu took over the SACJF chairmanship from South Africa's Chief Justice Pius Langa while Chief Justice Ernest Sakala of Zambia was elected his deputy with Uganda's Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki as committee member.
(Sila Press Agency)