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Judges, Magistrates Upgrade Skills, Knowledge On Criminal Law

A workshop which worked on strengthening the rule of law in Fiji concluded on Friday at the Coral Coast in Sigatoka. It aims to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of
05 Aug 2017 11:02
Judges, Magistrates Upgrade Skills, Knowledge On Criminal Law

A workshop which worked on strengthening the rule of law in Fiji concluded on Friday at the Coral Coast in Sigatoka.

It aims to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the justice sector by enhancing the capacity of Fiji’s judges and magistrates.

The workshop was supported by Fiji Access to Justice Project, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji.

39 judges and magistrates (10 women and 29 men) attended the annual workshop.

Chief Justice Justice Anthony Gates opened the Workshop noting the importance of continuous improvement of skills and knowledge which is essential for all reforms and improvements and that there was a comprehensive programme in place for the next three days.

The Chief Justice raised a crucial component of access to justice stressing to the Judges and Magistrates, “Remembering the rights of victims, women, children, the disabled, the inarticulate, leads us on to realise that we have to lean forward in order to hear the accounts of those who find it difficult to be heard”.

European Union (EU) Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific Andrew Jacobs said since the launch of the Access to Justice Programme, back in August 2016, the European Union had provided significant support to the Judicial Department, the Legal Aid Commission and the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission.

‘’The Criminal Law Workshop represents another milestone and the EU is delighted to be in a position to support such an important initiative … (which) allows for important discussions on current practices, skills and knowledge … ultimately contributing to a greater effectiveness of the criminal justice system, more importantly, this will reinforce citizens’ confidence in the fairness of proceedings as well as awareness and protection of their rights enshrined in the Fijian Constitution,’’ said Ambassador Jacobs.

Bakhodir Burkhanov, Country Director and Head of Regional Policy and Programmes for the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, also speaking at the opening of the workshop said: “An independent, impartial and efficient judiciary is a cornerstone of the rule of law in a democratic state.

“It serves to protect human rights and helps secure social progress and human development. Workshops such as this go a long way not only in strengthening the capacity of the judiciary, but benefiting all citizens who are in need of fair and effective access to justice”.

“For us at UNDP, this partnership with the Judicial Department and the European Union has been truly rewarding by putting people at the centre of development,” he added.

Nazhat Shameem said: “The rule of law and upholding human rights are intricately linked and are underlying themes of this workshop.

The ‎Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations and Other Organisations in Geneva, and Ambassador to Switzerland added: “Importantly this workshop supports ongoing initiatives, such as evidence from video recorded interviews, being undertaken following Fiji’s ratification of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on 16 March 2016.”

 



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