$10m injection for justice system

The overstretched justice delivery system has received $10 million from the United Nations to help it contain its financial, human and material resource constraints.

"Courts are faced with a backlog of cases and the country's prisons are overcrowded," the UN said in a Report made available to this newspaper.

"The judicial service is understaffed due to capacity erosion of professional and skilled personnel. This has resulted in courts operating at sub-optimal level."

It said the $10 million cash injection would also improve the justice delivery system and the rule of law which President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) stand accused of not respecting.

The UN revealed that in 2010 there were 31 Constitutional applications received by the Justice Ministry, and only five had been finalised, 25 were not ready for hearing while one case had been withdrawn before going to trial.

The MDC-T has regularly blasted Mugabe and his Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, for not allowing major cases to be heard by the courts.

The UN said the High Court had received 163 cases, 20 were not finalised, 137 were not ready for hearing, while six were withdrawn before going to court.

"The court system comprising the Supreme court, High Court, Magistrate's Court, and specialised courts, are capacitated to reduced case backlog by at least 75 percent," said the report.

"Support will focus on the eradication of the case backlog and enhancing the capacity of the national courts to operate within the statutory guidelines and international human rights standards. Likewise, the capacity of Parliament and other institutions in charge of drafting and reviewing laws and the administration of justice will be enhanced."

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