Strengthening the role of adjudicators in handling GBV cases

The Government of Zambia and the UN sing MoU to step up the fight against GBV.

In 2012 alone close to twelve thousand cases of GBV were reported to the Zambia but, sadly, only approximately 1500 of these made it to the Courts of law and 1236 remained pending cases while 233 were withdrawn from Court hearings.  A lot other cases did not even get to the police. This is has been the norm in Zambia with issues of Gender Based Violence! However the Government in 2012 launched a campaign to have “Zero Tolerance to GBV in Zambia” and with the support from the UNDP, the adjudicators stood up to be counted in the fight against GBV. In this regard, the Zambian Association of Women Judges (ZAWJ) held a consultative symposium under theme “Gender Based Violence the Way Forward” from 22nd to 23rd November, 2012. The symposium was officially opened by the first lady of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. Christine Kaseba. One major recommendation that resonated in this symposium was the call for the establishment of Fast Track Courts, so as to ease the suffering of victims and also to signal zero tolerance on GBV. This prompted immediate action from the Acting Chief Justice who has requested the Zambia Law Development Commission to draft a law for the establishment of Fast Track Courts in Zambia. With support from UNDP, the ZLDC has commenced this activity.

The National Legal Aid Clinic for Women (NLACW) reports that “access to justice for women and children has been constrained by the way cases have been adjudicated by the Local Court Justices and Traditional Leaders. So in order to address the challenges in adjudication of GBV cases in local and customary law, an assessment was undertake to determine gaps though a consultative workshop for local court magistrates and traditional leaders. This consultation was organized by the Law Association of Zambia and the National Legal Aid Clinic for Women, the consultation was notably attended by HRH Sr Chiefteness Nkomeshya (Chongwe); HRH Sr Chiefteness Shimukanami (Lufwanyama); HRHR Chief Mwamba (Kasama); HRH Chiefteness Mwenda (Chikankata); HRH Chief Liteta (Chibombo); HRH Chiefteness Nyakulenga ( Zambezi) and HRH Chief Mwene Kandala (Mongu). The outcome of the workshop is  a compilation of a  Casebook of Local Court Judgements and the development of a training manual that will be used to train the local court justices and traditional leaders.

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