It is doubtful if modern judges are aware of the original instruction given by God. It is obvious that God’s purpose for the criminal justice system appears to include the delivery of justice, restoration and cleansing of society from evil. Restoration is equivalent to restitution. Why is it that some citizens including donors are against restitution? The issue is not that a few citizens are against restitution but they are against the secretive method of granting the restitutions out of court.

The other day Attorney General Mr Anthony Kamanga was heard offering flimsy justification for the secretive awards of sums of public funds. The main reason was to circumvent the open courts as a way of settling for lower rates. The issue here is not about the amount but the need for transparency with public funds. It is very likely that the view of those questioning the secretive out of court payments is on who witnesses the calculations? In fact the Minister of Justice Hon. Ralph Kasambara confirmed this view point when he requested for evidence instead of providing it himself.

What many citizens are afraid of is that while the actual amount being paid to victims is lower, there is an amount included to cover the interest of one representing government. In this respect, it could be Hon Kasambara himself. In this regard, it makes sense, for the Ministry of Justice to accept the suspicion of the innocent citizens and donors. However, it is surprising to hear that government wants to renegotiate payment of the restitution charges. What would be the basis of the renegotiations if everything was done well?

The issue has also reminded us to understand the literal meaning of independence of the judiciary. Is the independence personal to the judge or to the institution? It is logical to ask for clarification for the nature of independence in a situation where the interests of two people are at stake; how could only a judge enjoy independence when the client is not? In the context of natural justice, it is obvious the nature of independence is relative. Once a judge has heard a case in a properly constituted court, it is not practically possible for the judge to enjoy independence when the interest of a client is at stake. Naturally, this means, there is need for a balancing to avoid suspicion of corruption. In summary, it can be said that the independence of the judiciary is relative to that of clients to avoid infringing on human rights.

God’s vision for the judicial system is explained in Deuteronomy 16 vs. 18-20 where He instructed Moses to appoint judges and officials from all tribes in all towns for them to deliver righteous judgment and not to accept bribes which blind the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.’   God is therefore interested in the delivery of righteous judgments which are not impaired by bribes and the keyword is ‘righteous.’

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