judicial independence

High-ranking accused in "scurrilous" bid to remove foreign judges from Lesotho cases

When Judge Charles Hungwe from Zimbabwe arrived in Lesotho earlier this year to start work on a series of controversial trials, he was given a warm reception in the local media. But since then the accused in some of the cases over which he was due to preside proved rather less than welcoming. In fact, 16 accused initially due to stand trial before him, led by Lesotho's former defence minister, Tseliso Mokhosi, have brought an application for his appointment – and the appointment of all other foreign judges who might hear the pending cases – to be declared unconstitutional. 

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Zimbabwe's Judge Charles Hungwe is one of several foreign judges who applied to hear controversial criminal cases involving high-ranking figures from among Lesotho’s politicians, army and police.

Controversial land inquiry warned over infringing judicial independence

Tension between Uganda’s judiciary and a commission of inquiry headed by one of the judiciary’s own members has heightened following a new Court of Appeal decision. The appeal judgment refused to stay a huge, court-ordered payout to a local pastor and land broker, as ordered by the inquiry, and warned that the independence of the judiciary was at stake if court decisions and orders could be countermanded by a commission of inquiry.

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 The commission of inquiry into land policies and administration in Uganda, headed by Judge Catherine Bamugemereire, has been at the centre of a number of high-profile disputes ever since it was set up.

Valentine's Day winner: New Tanzanian court rules improve experience of justice by vulnerable groups

Tanzania’s Chief Justice, Ibrahim Hamis Juma, has promulgated new rules that could greatly change how people from vulnerable groups experience courts and the justice system. That is why this is Jifa's winning Valentine's Day 2019 good news story: we like the care it shows for normally-forgotten people with no one else to champion their cause. The rules prioritise cases involving disadvantaged people, and set deadlines for finalizing matters in which they are involved.

Read the Rules on TanzLII

Court rules are often pretty boring to outsiders. Usually they are only of interest to lawyers who must obey them to the letter so they don’t get into trouble and make a mistake about filing deadlines, for example.

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