The Judiciary in North Rift is working with Court Users Committee (CUC) and other stakeholders towards encouraging locals to embrace the Alternative Justice System (AJS) in settling succession disputes and other cases.
Embracing the system will go a long way towards reducing the backlog of cases in the region.
Regional presiding Justice Reuben Nyakundi implored all stakeholders to work with the judiciary in identifying cases that can be solved through AJS.
Justice Nyakundi noted that if Kenyans would make proper use of AJS, valuable resources wasted by families through prolonged court cases in search of justice, especially in matters of boundary dispute and many succession cases will be saved and put into more viable uses.
Addressing an AJS stakeholders meeting in an Eldoret hotel, Justice Nyakundi regretted that some succession cases were dragging before courts of law for years, yet families can sit and solve the cases amicably under the alternative justice system.
“I urge all stakeholders to work together in promoting AJS. We need to capacity build all stakeholders to promote the alternative justice system to help our society,” added the Judge.
There is a need to create awareness by educating the entire society on AJS since the law acknowledges the use of AJS in settling specific cases that can take ages to resolve in court.
According to Nyakundi, AJS is the vibrant avenue that would enable more Kenyans to access timely justice.
Uasin Gishu AJS committee spearheaded by Centre for Human Rights and Mediation (CHRM) hailed Justice Nyakundi for working with other stakeholders through AJS to ensure access to justice for all Kenyans.
CHRD CEO Nick Omito said AJS will greatly help in reducing the number of people being jailed for petty crimes, hence reducing congestion in prisons.
Omito said there is a need for the judiciary to work with the council of elders, National government officers and even the village elders to make AJS a success.
“For AJS to succeed we need to incorporate all stakeholders including the council of elders for proper guidance on how the society wants AJS handled for the entire society to embrace the system,” said Omito
Omito said that his organization will continue working with the judiciary to capacity-build all stakeholders involved in AJS.
In May this year, Chief Justice Martha Koome said that Judiciary was planning to close all succession cases by the end of the year and refer them to AJS.
Eldoret religious organizations also hailed the role that AJS has started playing in solving cases through mediation.
Reverend Peter Mbithi who is a representative of religious leaders said due to the participatory nature of AJS, many pending cases in courts will be solved.
By Kiptanui Cherono