Fast track courts for GBV cases needed

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Fast track courts for GBV cases needed

Kabwe, April 11, ZANIS——–Kabwe High Court Judge Eddie Sikazwe says there is ardent need to prudently come up with Fast Track and User Friendly Courts to deal with the rampant sexual and Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases in Zambia.

Judge Sikazwe observed that sexual and GBV cases are rampant in the country and highly recommended the prospective Fast Track and User Friendly courts as a lasting solution to deal with the agitating matter.

“The establishment of Fast Track and User Friendly Courts will therefore enable the justice delivery system to expeditiously dispose of cases and protect the victims from the unfriendly atmosphere that exists in cases of GBV and it will lessen the psychological burden on the victims as it will ensure speedy trials,” said Justice Sikazwe.

He said this in a speech read for him by Magistrate John Harrison Mbuzi during the on-going (3 day) Consultative Workshop on the effective methods of administering justice for sexual and GBV cases, held at Gonde Lodge in Kabwe.

The workshop drew participants from various sectors including; Non-Governmental Organisations, the Judiciary, the Zambia Police Service and relevant government line ministries from Northern, Muchinga and Central provinces respectively.

“The wide selection of participants is deliberate to ensure that as many views as possible on the matter are taken on-board when coming up with a regulatory framework to handle Gender Based Violence cases.” added Justice Sikazwe.  

Meanwhile, the Zambia Law Development Commission representative, Senior Research Officer, Abraham Miti told ZANIS that the commission is mandated to conduct research and come up with recommendations on the most effective methods of administering the law relating to sexual and GBV cases.

He further said the commission’s general objective is to identify the best practice models for the establishment of GBV Fast Track and User Friendly Courts and to come up with recommendations on the most effective method of administering law and the ultimate dispensation of Justice for GBV cases.

He also reaffirmed the statistics availed to the commission by the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) that from January to June 2012, over 3,733 cases of GBV were reported.

“GBV if allowed to take root can affect the ability of women and children to enjoy their inherent human rights,” said Mr Miti.  

He further added that, “The rationale for this project is to find legal redress mechanisms to expeditiously, humanely and fairly dispose-off cases of GBV with the emphasis of protecting victims and witnesses from the stigma associated with GBV cases.”

Mr Miti however, bemoaned the lack of available facilities in the country to accommodate the victims and witnesses of the overly increasing sexual and gender based violence cases.

This is the second consultative workshop on the study as the first was held in Kitwe (the previous week) and the third workshop is slated for the 18th April in Lusaka.