By Leah Nyondo
The Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga, through the MISEREOR funded Women and Children’s Rights Project provided support to Chitipa Magistrate Court to conduct Court circuits within the district.
A court circuit is a court sitting in which a judge or magistrate and team as well as police prosecutors move from their usual settings to prosecute cases in the rural/ remote setting. This activity is being carried out in the areas of traditional authorities Mwenemisuku, Mwabulambia and Senior Chief Kameme.
Due to limited funding to courts, magistrates fail to prosecute cases in rural localities a thing which denies justice to people in rural areas. This is so because many cases stay long before they are concluded. This activity aims at ensuring that long overdue cases are tried.
Limited access to justice has been blamed for the rise in cases of violence against women and girls as perpetrators go scot free. This also encourages a culture of silence as victims of abuse choose to remain silent rather than reporting to authorities as they feel nothing will happen at all. The courts circuits will in the long run break the culture of silence.
In reaction to this support, First Grade Magistrate Julius Kalambo of Chitipa, thanked CCJP for providing the support to conduct court circuits in the three areas saying cases that are solved in the localities help victims to bring many witnesses.
“Court sittings in rural areas gives an opportunity for many witnesses to be paraded to provide evidence as compared to cases tried at the Chitipa Court where many witnesses fail to come due to long distances and lack of transport hence cases take long to be concluded. The court circuits run up to the 27 June, 2018.