THE Judiciary of Tanzania yesterday expressed a commitment to continue fulfilling its role of improving justice dispensation in the country for all groups, including children.
The move is in line with the implementation of the Five-Year National Development Plan.
Chief Justice Prof Ibrahim Juma reaffirmed the commitment when launching the Compendium of Child Justice Cases and Report on the Impact Assessment of Training to Juvenile Justice Frontline Workers in Dar es Salaam.
“In order to ensure that child justice becomes an integral part of the Judicial Reform Plan, the Judiciary of Tanzania has designated the High Court, Temeke Zone, which will focus more on family-related cases like marriage, divorce, maintenance and inheritance and will also address children’s cases,” he said.
The Chief Justice called on all authorities concerned with the issue of protecting and de-
fending the rights of the children to work together, while giving priority to the best interests of the child.
“Let us all remember that child justice, in the sense of justice, protection and well-being of the child is not available in Court alone. Rather, it is found in the integrated child justice system, which is the broadest umbrella than the judiciary, police or individual welfare,” said Prof Juma.
The Chief Justice commended the efforts made by the Institute of Judicial Administration (IJA) Lushoto, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Judiciary of Tanzania for coming up with the publication of those two reports.
“I can say that Compendium is a One-Stop Centre on child justice cases and important in the work of the police, investigators, judges, magistrates, social welfare officers, prisons and even policy makers when dealing with child justice,” he said.
According to the Chief Justice, the publication of the Compendium has other ad- vantages that remind everyone of the presence of many more laws than the Law of Child Act of 2009, meaning that child justice was not available within just one law, the Laws of the Child Act.
He clarified that there are provisions in the Constitution, various laws, rules, procedures and practices, which together form a comprehensive understanding on the rights of children, thus, the Compendium was a reminder that the rights of children should not be taken into account on criminal proceedings alone.
“Compliance with the rights of the children may also be required at any time and in any place, especially where the child is a witness, or the child is a target in marriage, divorce, upbringing, and or inheritance,” the Chief Justice said.
The publication of Compendium and report follows training needs assessment that was conducted by the Lushoto based Institute in collaboration with the Judiciary of Tanzania from 2017 to 2020 under the auspices of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The study identified several shortcomings in the conduct of children’s cases in the country. Among the shortcomings are the non-compliance with the Law of the Child Act of 2009 and its rules on how best to conduct child cases.
The legal challenge created the need for training for children’s rights stakeholders in the country to build their capacity in various areas of the law as well as the procedures in conducting cases involving children.
The training was conducted to 746 child rights stakeholders in all zones of the High Court of Tanzania in two phases. Following the training, the Lushoto based Institute in collaboration with the Judiciary under the funding from UNICEF conducted an assessment of the training.
In the assessment, a total of 502 stakeholders in 26 re- regions of Mainland Tanzania participated.