JSC allows public access to virtual court hearings

Yeukai Karengezeka

Court Correspondent

THE Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is restoring the public right to witness justice by allowing access to virtual hearings through an internet link .

Speaking on the sidelines of the JSC’s 14th anniversary celebrations at the Harare Magistrates Court yesterday, Chief Magistrate Ms Faith Mushure said the measures had been taken to ensure the public retained their rights.

“In an effort to address some concerns that had been raised on the Integrated Case Management System, we now have Statutory Instrument 81 of 2024 gazetted last month to address the concerns of the public as the major issue was the public’s lack of access to virtual courts.

“The JSC is now mandated to create a link where the public can join virtual court hearings,.

Ms Mushure said it was now mandatory to have an e-filing centre at every court to assist those who had no access to the internet and the requisite gadgets.

This year’s celebrations ran under the theme, “Phase 4 is coming: Magistrates’ Courts going digital.”

“It is indeed, an important and memorable day which marks the complete separation of the administration of the affairs of the judiciary from the executive in compliance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”

Ms Mushure said as their culture on this day, JSC was reaching out to their stakeholders by interacting and celebrating with them.

“We also take the opportunity to interact with the people and inform them of the operations of the courts and respond to any questions regarding the JSC and the court operations.”

“The main thrust of JSC is ensuring that there is access to justice for everyone. The theme highlights the JSC’s latest initiative to digitise operations across magistrates’ courts in the country.”

The magistrates were excited to be implementing the fourth phase of the Integrated Electronic Case Management System at the magistrates courts.

“The magistrates’ courts will now go digital. The digitisation of the magistrates’ courts will be done province- by-province, starting January 1, 2025. This is a big achievement because what it means is that people even outside the country or away from the physical courts with approval can attend court sessions virtually,” said Ms Mushure.

JSC had improved the ambience of court rooms and premises throughout the country .

In terms of infrastructure, they had also established new court houses in Epworth, facelifted the Lupane Court while Cowdray Park court was being built among others.

JSC had started equipping the magistrates courts and people were now registering their records attaching e-mail addresses for both the accused persons and the complainants.

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