Criminal justice policy in offing, House told

DODOMA: FOR the first time, Tanzania will have a criminal justice policy, thanks to the recommendations made by Judge Othman’s Commission, which suggested several measures to be taken in order to improve the country’s criminal justice system.

The Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs, Dr Pindi Chana told the august House on Monday that the policy will be ready in the next financial year, as she requested legislators to endorse 441.3bn/- in recurrent and development expenditures for the 2024/2025 fiscal year.

According to the minister, there were several key priorities that will be implemented in the next fiscal year, among them, enacting the National Criminal Justice policy as well as preparing a strategy for the implementation of the policy.

Two years ago, President Samia Suluhu Hassan formed a commission chaired by former Chief Justice Mohammed Chande Othman to look at how best to improve the country’s criminal justice system, which proposed major reforms in key law enforcement and justice delivery institutions.

The team presented its report on July 15, 2023 to Dr Samia whereas its report suggested 13 recommendations insisting that, if well implemented, would bolster access to justice for all.

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The Justice Othman-led team proposed major reforms in key law enforcement and justice delivery institutions including the review of various pieces of legislation and the enactment of new laws. It is in the backdrop of the said recommendations that the ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs decided to come up with a new policy which will be enacted in the next financial year.

Dr Chana further outlined other key priorities that will be implemented during the 2024/25 financial year, which include dealing with constitutional matters by providing massive education on constitution and civil rights. Also, the minister noted, the ministry will strengthen judicial infrastructures, increasing pace in the hearing of cases as well as segregating matters of investigation and prosecution.

“We also expect to deal with civil disputes as well as dealing with business disputes, international and contract laws,’’ she said.

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In the next budget, Dr Chana added, her ministry would equally establish the conflict resolution centre, coordinate matters related to human rights and assessment and legal reforms in the education, sports betting, capital punishment as well as life improvement.

Other priorities in the next financial year include coordinating close followups on the natural wealth legislation as well as the country’s natural resources.

The ministry further will press more powers in the repatriation of criminals as well as intensifying collaboration on criminal offences.

According to Dr Chana, her ministry was equally well prepared to intensify the use of ICTs in justice delivery as well as other legal services.

Regarding human rights, the minister said that the government would prepare and implement the strategy for protecting human rights in the next financial year including coordinating desks for legal aids at the community and national levels.

Also, Dr Chana said, the government will in the next financial year translate 161 laws from English to Kiswahili language.

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