Without Fear or Favour: Seychelles welcomes justices, court officials from 12 countries for two-day forum
Ten chief justices and senior court administrators from 12 countries across southern and eastern Africa are participating in the two-day forum. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles is for the first time hosting the forum for Southern African Chief Justices in which participants reflect on critical issues impacting justice delivery in the region.
Ten chief justices and senior court administrators from 12 countries across southern and eastern Africa are participating in the two-day forum at the Savoy Resort in the northern Mahe district of Beau Vallon.
In his opening address, the Seychelles’ President, Danny Faure, said the high-level participation “is testament to the importance of the Southern African Chief Justices Forum, its work in the region and the value given to the support it provides to regional judiciaries.”
“Standing here today, I am reminded that democracy is the result of a delicate status quo that requires the continual maintenance of a system of checks and balances. This is the system that prevents the accumulation and abuse of power, and ensures that the government exists to serve the individual and not the other way around,” said Faure.
The head of state of Seychelles said the importance of the judiciary in maintaining and sustaining this status quo cannot be understated.
“This is reflected in the fact that many of the constitutions in our region position the judiciary as the final bastion against the abuse of power by other branches. Courts are a vital check and balance, being the final arbiters when determining the horizontal and vertical application of the laws and the constitution. Foundational to every constitutional democracy, therefore, is an independent and impartial judiciary,” he added.
Under the theme ‘Without Fear or Favour – maintaining a strong, impartial, independent and accountable judiciary’ the participants at the forum will discuss a broad range of issues including the challenges faced by judges and the judiciaries on which they serve.
The Chief of Justice of Seychelles, Mathilda Twomey, told delegates that judiciaries around the world face constant and ever-growing challenges to their independence.
|Seychelles' Chief Justice said to uphold the rule of law, the justice system must be accessible and impartial with every individual treated as equal before the law. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY|
“Therefore the aim of this conference is to reflect on our experiences and share lessons learnt with the ultimate aim of strengthening our respective judiciaries,” she said.
Twomey added that the Seychelles’ judicial system is a mix of the French civil law and English common law.
“This has provided a fertile ground to share and learn from each other as we have gathered today as one African nation. Our differences also present opportunities to reflect on how our respective systems and practices might benefit from further evolutions,” she added.
Twomey added that “to uphold the rule of law, the justice system must be accessible and impartial with every individual treated as equal before the law. Judicial independence has both a personal and institutional quality.”
The Southern African Chief Justices forum is a multinational meeting of heads of judiciaries and senior judges from across Southern and East Africa. Established in 2003, it aims at upholding the rule of law, democracy and independence of the courts through regional cooperation and solidarity.
Seychelles, the smallest member country, joined in 2010.