TRAINING SERVICE PROVIDERS IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND PUBLIC SECTOR
In support of its work to address the people’s needs, the LRF also strives to strengthen service delivery and build the capacity of local authorities to protect the rights of their constituents. If those in charge know and follow their roles and responsibilities the justice delivery system will be more functional, service providers will handle the marginalised and vulnerable in a more sensitive way and trust in them will be enhanced.
Traditional Leaders are the custodians of the local courts but often do not receive any relevant training for that position. During the last year the LRF held nine workshops for traditional leaders focussing on topics such as their jurisdictional limits, judicial ethics, marriage, wills and inheritance but also record keeping and level of fees in the primary courts
The LRF enjoys the privilege of being able to monitor the Chiefs’ Courts and to observe the proceedings. Reports show evidence that after training correct procedures were followed and the court decided only on matters they have jurisdiction over.
Police / Prison Officers
Police officers are an important group in the realisation of access to justice for Zimbabweans. Their handling of suspects, vulnerable witnesses and court applications which require their input makes a difference as they can effectively hinder access to justice if they do not have the requisite attitudes and knowledge. The LRF therefore works with Police officers so that they can effectively discharge their duties, for the benefit of the populace.
Prison officers are also an integral part of the justice delivery system. Prisoners have rights which must be respected. They also need assistance in making applications for, inter alia, bail and appeals. The LRF therefore trains Prison Officers in UN Minimum Prison Standards, human rights and also focus on bail and appeals, so that the officers are well equipped to effectively discharge their duties.
During the year the LRF held seven workshops for them – either separately or together -reaching 75 prison officers and 128 police officers. Topics for these groups evolved around human rights, treatment of juveniles and women, especially in relation to sexual offenses, bail applications and the roles and duties of each group.
Clerks of Court
LRF provided six workshops for the Clerks of Court. They play a pivotal role in the justice delivery system as they are the face of the courts and thus they need to be equipped to perform such a role. To support that the LRF focussed on topics such as their roles and responsibilities, summons procedure and the procedure in processing applications and appeals.
The workshops showed that they are very relevant as they bring procedural errors to the fore which could then be addressed. Comments after the workshop also show that participants appreciate them.
“This workshop was very, very important because I gained a lot of things and was enlightened on different topics. It enhanced my knowledge in both civil and criminal duties as clerk of court.”