Zimbabwe: Spike in Public Violence As Over 100 000 Criminal Cases Brought to Courts in 2019

14 January 2020

A total of 101 124 criminal cases were brought to courts between January and August 2019, a rise of 15% which has been attributed to an increase in public violence.

Over 98 000 of these criminal cases were finalised in the courts.

This was revealed by Chief Justice Luke Malaba while officially opening the 2020 Legal Year in Harare Monday.

"When the public violence cases were brought, the courts prioritised the trial of such cases. That strategy resulted in the unprecedented clearance of the cases," he told stakeholders in the legal fratentity.

"Violence is likely to result in loss of life, injury to other citizens and wanton destruction of property.

"While the overall backlog of criminal cases rose by 15% at the end of 2019, the commendable hard work of magistrates is demonstrated by the fact that whilst 98 158 cases were completed in 2018, the total number of cases completed in 2019 rose to 100 493.

At the Constitutional Court, 83 cases were filed and 46 were finalised compared to 62 received in 2018.

In the Supreme Court, pending matters dropped by 15% from 510 cases in January 2019 to 434 cases at the close of the year.

In addition to 510 pending cases that the court opened the year with, it received 772 new cases and completed 848 cases.

Malaba said that the High Court opened the year under review with 3 742 pending cases, 24 752 new matters were received to make a total of 28 688. The court managed to finalise 24 752 matters and closed the year with 3 936 unsolved cases.

At the Labour Court, there were 582 pending cases and 2 211 were received making a total of 2 793 matters. Of these 2 440 were completed.

At the Administrative Court, 121 cases were filed in 2019 and 93 were cleared.

The Magistrates Courts' regional divisions recorded a surge in the number of cases received in 2019, totaling 4 767 cases as compared to 3 625 cases received in 2018.

The division also completed 4 879 cases in 2019, a 38% increase compared to 2018.

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