Judiciary and civil society join to develop action plan


Stakeholders during the workshop

A number of stakeholders among which non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the bar association, NGOs working with the Montagne Posée prison, family-related organisations, the police, and organisations involved in rehabilitation programmes, took part in the workshop held at the Liaison Unit for Non-Governmental Organisations of Seychelles (Lungos) conference room.

Present were acting chief justice D. Karunakaran, judge Gustave Dodin and Lungos chairman Bernard Elizabeth.

The seminar was used to brainstorm about issues and present ideas on how to make the judiciary more efficient, such as how to clear backlog of cases, and discuss the possibility of alternative sentencing.

Although alternative sentencing is quite a new idea to Seychelles, the Lungos chief executive Steve Lalande said it is a feasible one.

“We want to discuss the possibility of introducing alternative sentencing, where instead of giving an accused a prison sentence, he/she could instead get another type of punishment,” he said.

“Although this type of sentencing is not applicable for all those who are sentenced, it does bring certain benefits to both the community and also the convicted,” added Mr Lalande.

With community work a popular type of alternative sentencing, Mr Lalande said they would first consider this type of sentencing for lighter crimes and also focus on possible rehabilitation.

There was also a presentation by judge Karunakaran about the Seychelles judiciary’s 2010-2014 strategic plan. There were also presentations from the bar association and Lungos.

Project consultant Giovana Neves spoke about the project itself and international trends towards judiciary and civil society engagement, as well as the concept of engagement, benefits, risks and best practices of such projects.

Mr Lalande said there is also an idea to create a citizens’ advisory bureau where the public can go to get legal advice and information on the judiciary.

He added that if successfully implemented the bureau will possibly later on have talks with the bar association on having lawyers who will join the bureau to offer their services, but that will be at a later stage.

Working sessions included a road map for the engagement project between the two parties, strategies and principles they will use, short, medium and long-term projects. They also had talks on how best to promote, communicate and monitor the engagement process.

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