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passes two Bills
October 19, 2006
passed the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment and the Judicial
Service Bills without amendments.
The Bills now
await President Mugabeís signature to become law.
Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill seeks to enhance the justice
delivery system, especially the granting of bail and handling of
cases on child abuse.
Under the proposed
law, magistrates would be empowered to order a parent or a guardian
to be present at the confirmation proceedings where the accused
is a juvenile.
excluding the public from attending confirmation proceedings will
be repealed so that these will be held in an open court for the
sake of transparency.
Service Bill seeks to remove magistrates and their supporting
staff from the authority of the Public Service Commission and place
them under the commission that certifies judges.
During the second
reading debate of the Bill, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs Cde Patrick Chinamasa said the proposed law would enhance
the independence of the judiciary, a development that was in conformity
with the internationally acceptable standards where judiciaries
operated with a great degree of autonomy.
He said a code
of conduct and ethics would also be put in place to assist the judiciary
maintain ethics as well as improve their conditions of service.
"We will be
more focused on resources but my expectations are that conditions
of service would be better. The majority of officers, even judges
and magistrates donít own houses and most donít own cars," he said.
said under the proposed law judges and magistrates could be arrested
when they committed a crime but not in the courts or their chambers.
to the debate, Non-Constituency Senator Mr Jonathan Mapfumo said
the Bill would also establish an independent budget for the judiciary.
"The Bill will
wean off the judiciary from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs and it will also enhance the administrative efficiency of
the ministry," he said.
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