• Hon. Principal of the Institute of Judicial Administration, Judge Dr. Kihwelo.
  • Hon. Deputy Registrar High Court Iringa.
  • Distinguished Participants.
  • Distinguished invited guests.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen.

I feel privileged and honored to have been chosen and invited to present the opening remarks at this important training workshop on “Capacity Building to Juvenile Court personnel”. I wish to extend my sincere thanks to Hon. Judge Dr. Kihwelo, and his entire IJA administration for the invitation. It is a great pleasure for me to be among you today.

May I also take this opportunity to congratulate the Institute of Judicial Administration, for organizing this workshop. I am quite aware of the existence of a Training Plan developed by concerted efforts between the Judiciary of Tanzania and the Institute Judicial Administration aimed to ensure that all employees of Judiciary are competent and capable in terms of knowledge, skills and experience in their respective positions. In his comments on the IJA Activity Report for 2016/2017, his lordship, the Acting Chief Justice (as he then was) Prof. Ibrahim H. Juma observed with appreciation as follows;-

The Institute is dedicated to the training of all the employees of the Judiciary of Tanzania, both Judicial Staff and Non-Judicial Staff. These trainings are geared at building their capacity in order to improve their ability to offer the best service to members of general public and therefore increase public confidence and trust to the Judiciary…….”

We all appreciate that noble duty mandated to IJA and indeed we, the Judicial Officers of Iringa Zone have now started to enjoy the fruits of training plans by IJA. We are grateful and we do understand that training is a very important component for any institution to perform efficiently and effectively.

I also wish to extend my thanks to our development partners, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank under Citizen Centric Judicial Modernization and Justice Served Delivery Project who have been kind enough to participate in sponsoring the trainings. May I also extend my gratitude to our host, the Open University of Tanzania – Iringa region center for granting leave to use their facilities.

Distinguished Participants,

It has long been recognized and appreciated that the courts

have a vital role to play in the struggle for delivery of justice and protection of human rights in the society. Children’s rights are human rights of children with particular attention. Children are entitled to special protection and care. That include special attention for those who finds themselves in conflict with the law or subjected to abuse. They require criminal justice system appropriate to their age. They also require protection of their civil rights and freedom from discrimination. Fortunately that position enjoys a universal recognition which led to the establishment of Juvenile Courts.

In his research titled “The Unwanted Child of state Responsibility, International Network on Juvenile Justice and Defence of Children” Mr. Bruce Abrahamson commented that;-

Children and adolescents are in a period of development. What happens to them or fails to happen at each step of the way in the law enforcement process not only affect them in the here and now but will also shape their future development for good or ill. States thus, respond to the criminal activity of minors, certainly for the sake of society and for the sake of offence”

In Tanzania, Juvenile Courts have its roots from the Children and Young Persons Ordinance 1937 (Cap. 13). Before the enactment of that legislation the children and young persons were tried in the same court rooms as adult offenders, although they were tried separately. A need for separated buildings to suit the needs of children in conflict with the law was highly appreciated.

The first Juvenile Court in Tanzania with its own special building was established at Kisutu and opened on 25th July, 1997. At that time and following the opening of that Juvenile Court it was recognized and appreciated that there was a serious need to establish similar court buildings in the remaining Districts of Tanzania.

Distinguished Participants,

It is very disappointing that such need and objectives were not realized todate. Thanks to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), our development partner who sponsored for the construction of the 2nd Juvenile Court building in Tanzania situated at Mbeya District. This Juvenile Court was inaugurated on 26th July, 2017 although the Court started operation on 18th April, 2017.

Therefore, the need for separate and special buildings for Juvenile Courts in every District is still subsisting. The need to protect our young offenders from being tried in the same court building with adults is irreversible.

In the recent days the Judiciary of Tanzania have decided to alleviate the situation by designating as Juvenile Courts several Primary Courts and District Courts premises through Government Notice No. 314 published on 9/12/2016. Most of you will be working in those Juvenile Courts.In my understanding those court buildings are only designated as Juvenile Courts when constituted and presided as Juvenile Courts, otherwise the court building will also be operating as normal adult courts.

Distinguished Participants,

The vision of the Judiciary of Tanzania is “Timely and accessible Justice for all”. I am sure that the vision includes Justice for Children. The mission of the Judiciary of Tanzania is to “Administer Justice to all through timely provision of quality, fair, transparent and impartial decisions”. I am also certain that the mission applies to the children. The question is why the Juvenile Justice System in Tanzania has been lagging behind with no proper attention in both infrastructure, resource and manpower. I pose that question to you.

Be as it may, the struggle for the strengthening of the Juvenile Court system in Tanzania is still on the way. This training is one of them. The theme of the seminar is “capacity Building to Juvenile Court Personnel”. I have seen the topics intended to be covered. They are exhaustive as far as the Juvenile Justice System is concerned.

The first part covers the introductory material and concepts. Focus areas includes;-

  • Introductions and principles in criminal proceedings.
  • Children in courts
  • Tanzania perspective
  • International perspective.
  • General principles and procedures of child friendly justice and Juvenile Courts in Tanzania.

The second part covers, the children in criminal proceedings focus area include;

  • Objectives in criminal proceedings involving children in Juvenile Court.
  • Case management in criminal proceedings.
  • Support of the child in Court.
  • Procedures and handling of a child – Police and the Court.
  • Police bail
  • Charge and arrest
  • Hearing
  • Punishments or sentences for the Juvenile offenders.

I think you will go further and discuss on whether a child in conflict with the law is supposed to be punished or educated. In other jurisdictions they talk about t...