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Swaziland: Criminal Justice System

(Feb. 2, 2008) Seven months after his appointment as Chief Justice of Swaziland, Richard Banda acknowledged the existence of "too much corruption" in the country's judiciary. Speaking about the setbacks experienced in the year 2007, he disclosed that serious corruption allegations have been made against individuals working in all branches of the criminal justice system, including judges.

Banda also talked about the causes for the court congestion in the year 2007. He attributed the problem to "inadequate funding, [an] inadequate number of judges and magistrates posts, limited jurisdiction for magistrates both in civil and criminal cases, inadequate court houses in regional centers, … limited means of transport which has resulted in the infrequent visits to circuit courts, and … inadequate court staff." As a result, the Chief Justice stated, there was an "unacceptable number of people waiting on remands, for delivery of judgments, for sentencing, and for bail applications." According to the Chief Justice, for these reasons the judiciary was branded inefficient. (Swaziland Chief Justice Paints Dim Picture, Calls Criminal Justice 'Inefficient,' AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, Jan. 22, 2008, Open Source Center No. AFP20080122544007.)