Judges for Judges (J4J) participated in the International Fact Finding Mission in Swaziland (IFFM-SZ) held in May 2015 by the ICJ, in collaboration with the Africa Judges and Jurists Forum (AJJF) and the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA).
On 18 February 2016 the report was presented that scrutinizes judicial independence and accountability in Swaziland and makes several findings and recommendations regarding the independence and accountability of the judiciary in the country.The mission was conducted at the backdrop of a number developments of concern for the independence and accountability of the judiciary in Swaziland.
The report observes that:
The Kingdom of Swaziland has a constitutional and legislative framework that does not respect the separation of powers or provide the necessary legal and institutional framework and safeguards to ensure the independence of the judiciary;
The former Chief Justice Ramodibedi failed to protect and defend the institutional independence of the judiciary;
The Executive failed to respect the independence of the judiciary; and
The failure to respect the independence of the judiciary by the Executive and the failure by the Chief Justice to defend the institutional independence of the judiciary created conditions conducive to abuse of the legal system for personal gain
Presenting the Mission’s findings, the ICJ Africa Regional Programme Director, Arnold Tsunga urged the Crown, Judiciary, civil society and international community to collectively work towards the implementation of the recommendations to strengthen the institutional and structural independence of the judiciary thereby restoring citizen’s and stakeholders confidence in the judiciary and the rule of law.