Botswana: Chief Justice Implores Judicial Officers to Expedite Cases

Kasane — Chief Justice Terrence Rannowane has implored judicial officers attending the 3rd colloquium on human trafficking to take full advantage of the forum to expedite the adjudication of human trafficking cases.

He said human trafficking cases as they relate to displaced persons were by their nature urgent and suggested that going forward, their rules must make it mandatory to deal with the cases expeditiously and within a specified time period.

"I will motivate this thinking process at the appropriate time with the relevant stakeholders," said Justice Rannowane when sharing his views relating to human trafficking.

Mr Rannowane said the vision of the Administration of Justice was to achieve a world class judiciary with regional and global ranking and presence, noting that human trafficking was a relatively new and sophisticated phenomenon not widely known among the populace.

Human trafficking, he said, strips the affected individual of any dignity and decency, describing it as an injustice that could visit and affect anyone of any age, gender or nationality.

He hailed the organisers of the colloquium, noting that it would afford judicial officers, experts and other stakeholders an opportunity to ventilate issues and contribute in a robust and meaningful way to finding solutions to human trafficking.

Mr Rannowane said Botswana was not immune to human trafficking as it was perceived as a conduit destination or transit for women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking as the country share boarders, some of which were porous.

During the period between January 2016 and June 2019, he said they registered 42 cases of trafficking in persons, eight cases of promoting trafficking in persons and two cases of smuggling of persons.

The statistics, he said demonstrated that human trafficking was a real menace and that a substantial number of cases were before courts.

"This forum affords the delegates a pedestal to share real life experiences without confining it to the academic sphere," he added.

The Chief Justice further revealed that the forum was in sync with his proposition and blue print for continuous judicial education so that the judicial officers were adequately capacitated to deal with contemporary issues and cross border crime and to appreciate the challenges faced by other stakeholders and agencies in the discharge of their duties.

Mr Rannowane thanked the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the US government for affording them an opportunity, stating that judicial colloquiums were by nature an important cog in pursuing a common understanding of contemporary legal issues among stakeholders.

The common understanding of issues, he said, would make it easier for the judiciary community to deal with matters before them expeditiously.

He appreciated that the applications of the concepts and principles learnt from the forum may give sponsors the impetus to conduct many more trainings for the good of the country.

The colloquium was held under the support of the UNODC and the US government. The forum took place just a few weeks before the international commemoration of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, scheduled for July 30 in Ghanzi.

This year's theme will be; Joining our Government in the Ffight Against Trafficking in Persons: It is Our Responsibility".

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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