Court Monitoring an effective innovative strategy
Observation of court processes is a better way to monitor the implementation of the law. Deaf Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) human rights legal representatives attend court processes involving persons with disabilities. Speaking to Mr Mwale (DZT Legal Officer) court monitoring is really important, it has allowed them to assess victim, perpetrators and witness court experience, attitudes and prosecutorial system on issues of rape, for example.
Through these court processes, monitors found that in most cases there has been challenges faced by persons with disabilities in courts which include poor communication between the police and the court leading to some cases prolonged. Visual impairment persons face challenges when they are asked to identify the perpetrator. The deaf and hard of hearing struggle to express themselves especially on those situations where no sign language interpreters are present.
However let us applaud for the progress that is happening. Mr Mwale has managed to discuss and reach an agreement that awaits approval with Chief Magistrate at Harare Magistrate Court so that Deaf Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) can provide sign language interpreters to Harare Magistrate Court.
Having said this there is need to train and teach sign language to the police generally officers. More sign language interpreters in courts. As it stands Bindura Magistrate Court is one court for the record that was provided with sign language interpreter by Justice Service Commision (JSC). Documents must be administered in all formats. There is also need to carry out programs that help to identify problems patterns and issues with the court system and to propose practical solutions that will improve the administration of justice so as to increase public trust in the justice system. What this means to peace is that court monitoring identify trends and common occurrences that impede justice. It significantly reduce all forms of violence, end abuse, exploitation and this develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels thus provide access to justice for all.