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There is a consideration to introducing virtual courts in Namibia during the current financial year to reduce the backlog of court cases.

This is according to the Judiciary Executive Director, who indicated that massive financial resources are needed to make the dream a reality.

At Swakopmund, Bernhardt Kukuri informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Legal Affairs about the introduction of virtual courts.

"We have considerations, and we also discussed with the lower court administration the possibility of that virtual court also being considered in the lower courts. There, the maximum benefits would be accrued in the sense that you have somebody at the Mururani police or correctional facility there in custody who was caught on the Kavango West court at Kahenge, and now you drive all the way through to Rundu and go there to be postponed to come back again. We are really making a joke of this thing, so it's possible it can be done, so we are now considering this in the new financial year to move towards that." 

Paula Kooper, Deputy Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Legal Affairs, wanted more information on the readiness of the judiciary to introduce virtual courts.

"What I saw last week in Zimbabwe was that we were at a court, and they are all virtual; it's a multi-purpose centre; the high court, the magistrate's court, the lower courts—everything with offices is in that court, and if you look at it, it will cost maybe millions or billions to invest in that building. So what I have seen made me a bit worried when you spoke about we want to have a virtual court."

In his response, Kukuri indicated that Namibia and Zimbabwe have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to allow the two countries to assist each other.

The ED says the current annual budget is not adequate, as N$1.5 billion is needed to reduce the backlog of court cases.

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Photo Credits
Windhoek Observer

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Renate Rengura