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THE shortage of magistrates and prosecutors will soon be a thing of the past after the European Union injected 1,2 million euros for the resuscitation of the Judicial College of Zimbabwe.

The Judicial College, which closed shop in 2008 due to funding challenges, will this year resume the training of new magistrates and prosecutors as well as offering refresher courses to existing staff to improve the quality of justice.

EU availed the funding to the Judicial Service Commission through the mediation of the International Commission of Jurists.

Speaking at the launch of the Judicial Service Commission and EU Support Programme in Harare yesterday, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku hailed the funders for their generosity.

“Your Excellency (Head of the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe), allow me on behalf of the JSC, the judiciary and on my own behalf, to express our sincere gratitude to you and to the European Union for your generosity.

“What is heart warming about the programme that we are launching today is not necessarily the monetary value of the support programme, which is quite generous, but the realisation by the EU that of the players in the justice sector, the Judicial Service Commission of Zimbabwe is worthy the support,” he said.

The Chief Justice said the Judicial College would go a long way in providing the necessary skills and knowledge for judicial and non-judicial officers.

“The Judicial Service Commission views the Judicial College as a strategic and pivotal institution for improving technical capacity of all judicial and non-judicial members through continuous training and development.

“The college will always play an important role in the justice sector, through the provision of knowledge and skills development to members in the sector,” said the judiciary boss.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku said now that funding was available, the college would reopen soon.

“It is my fervent hope that the resuscitation process will start sooner rather than later now that funding has been made available,” he said.

In an interview, JSC acting secretary Justice Rita Makarau said the college would be reopened before the end of this year.

“Like what the Chief Justice said, we will start immediately. We cannot give a specific date, but now that we have the funding, the college is likely to reopen before the end of this year.

“We want to firstly engage a consultant who will assist us to come up with a curriculum and other requirements before we start.

“We will be training fresh magistrates and prosecutors as before as well as offering refresher courses for the staff that we already have,” she said.

Head of the EU delegation to Zimbabwe Ambassador Philippe Van Damme said the 1,2 million euro project would go a long way in improving justice delivery and promoting the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

“Today’s 1,2 million euro project builds on previous interventions and aims at supporting strategic duty bearers to carry out their mandate and in doing so, transforming Zimbabwe from a country that has a good Constitution, to one that effectively and consistently implements the principle of constitutionalism . . .

“We are aiming at increasing the capacity of the legal professionals to administer justice fairly and in accordance with international human rights law,” he said.

Source : The Herald