NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 17 – Chief Justice David Maraga has asked religious leaders and village elders to mentor young people in order to curb the spiraling cases of defilement that are leading to many of them ending up in jail.
He said that in the many prisons he had toured around the country, the number of young people serving time for defilement or awaiting trial is high, pointing at a serious problem that society must address.
Speaking in Nyamira during the official opening of a new law courts building on Friday, Justice Maraga said an inordinately high number of cases heard at the station – 86 per cent – were criminal matters, with only 14 per cent being civil matters.
He stated that the criminal matters revolved around violence emanating from land disputes and defilement.
“We are actively encouraging disagreeing parties to use Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms as much as possible instead of taking the law into their hands or always resorting to the courts,” he stated.
“ADR works well because the parties talk things over, guided by people who know the issues at hand better than our courts, and seek a solution that is mutually acceptable.”
Local leaders requested the Chief Justice to deploy an Environment and Land Court (ELC) judge in Nyamira to deal with the large number of land matters, to which he agreed and said he will post one from the recently recruited ELC judges to the station.
He said mediation will also be entrenched at the Nyamira law courts to help deal with succession matters expeditiously.
He commended the World Bank for their support in constructing the new court through the Judicial Performance Improvement Project (JPIP).
Like all the new courts being built, the Nyamira facility provides a room for lactating mothers, therefore complying with the Health Act 2017, Section 71 which requires such as facilities to have stations where lactating mothers can feed their babies.
The Judiciary has incorporated lactation facilities in 29 stations so far.
Governor John Nyagarama thanked the Judiciary for taking justice closer to the people saying that increasing the number of courts will translate to justice for all.
Presiding Judge of Nyamira High Court, Justice Esther Maina, urged members of the public to embrace mediation while the Nyamira County Commissioner, Amos Mariba, said the new court will reduce the distance covered while transporting prisoners.