The court system of Swaziland has faced a number of challenges both in terms of dealing with a backlog of cases and in dealing with a large number of cases relating to the interpretation of the new Constitution, which came into effect in 2005.
In 2008, the Government of Swaziland requested CFTC technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of the justice system of Swaziland through the provision of two High Court judges. At the time of the request the court system in Swaziland was experiencing a massive backlog of cases due to serious delays in the hearing of cases. Obsolete case management systems, lack of training of key staff, including clerks of court and magistrates, as well as a lack of judges in the High Court were causing these delays. This resulted in a large number of detainees spending long periods of time in custody awaiting trial.
The Government of Swaziland requested for two judges and a special adviser to advise the Chief Justice on capacity building and assist in the development of modern methods of managing a justice system, as well as to provide the necessary training for staff within the justice system.
The goal of this project was to strengthen the capacity in the justice system of Swaziland though the provision of CFTC judges and the training of key judicial officers including magistrates, registrars and clerks.
This project has assisted the judiciary in Swaziland to deal with the significant case backlog in the courts by direct disposal of cases by highly qualified judges and improved case management and administration.
During the project key judicial officers, including magistrates, registrars and clerks have benefited from professional training. The project beneficiaries have more broadly included the people of Swaziland who have benefited from the increased effectiveness in the administration and delivery of justice. This will, in the medium-long term, also contribute to greater social, political and economic stability.