THE Judiciary has expressed concern over the high number of juveniles appearing before various courts.

Lusaka High Court Judge-in-Charge Gertrude Chawatama has wondered what is happening in some families that many children are appearing before courts; often for serious offences.

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Apostle Vincent Mwenya has appealed to all judges in the country to always be crowned with God’s justice and tell the truth to those who seek counsel.

The two were speaking during the ceremonial opening of the 2021 Lusaka High Court criminal session held under the theme: “The faces of Justice.”

“We are concerned with the number of juveniles, who are appearing before us. We have wondered what is happening in the family, government, headed by parents who have a duty to bring up children in the fear of the Lord. Why are so many of our children appearing before our courts? And often for very serious offences?” Justice Chawatama asked.

She also saluted judges in the High Court for serving the community according to the law in their administration of Justice.

“I salute each and every judge in the High Court; judges who strive to be impartial and have properly interpreted the meaning, significance and implications of the law. Men and women who have recognised that justice means more than just interpreting the law; judges who have often shown compassion and understanding towards the people on both sides of cases before them. They have taken seriously their role to serve the community in their administration of Justice according to law,” Judge Chawatama said.

“The judges are aware that the community we serve should have confidence in us and we have done our best to win such confidence. We have dealt with unrepresented litigants whose numbers have increased, with patience and understanding.”

And Justice Chawatama said out of 4,676 cases in backlog, judges disposed of 4,260 as at the end of December, 2020.

“Apart from Lusaka, the judges were tasked to dismantle cases in the backlog in Ndola, Kitwe, Livingstone and Kasama. As at the end of December, 2020, out of 4,676 cases in backlog, judges have disposed of 4,260 total number of cases, pending 416,” said Judge Chawatama.

Judge Chawatama further thanked their (judges) families for their love, support and understanding in order for them to execute their mandate as per their oath of office.

Brigadier General Apostle Mwenya appealed to all judges in Zambia to always be crowned with God’s justice and tell the truth to those who seek counsel even if it hurts to hear it.

Apostle Mwenya, who was the guest of honour at the occasion, said God as a judge was crowned with justice.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Correctional Services announced that there were over 2,800 inmates in correctional facilities in Lusaka Province.

Speaking when he gave a status report of correctional facilities during the ceremonial opening of the criminal session, Monday, Zambia Correction Services Lusaka region commanding officer Enias Mbao said that Lusaka Central Correctional facility had 1,224 inmates, while Mwembeshi Maximum Correctional facility had 744 inmates.

Mbao further said that Kamwala Remand had 336; Mwembeshi Farms 329; Chainama East 138, while Lusaka Central Female Correctional facility had 42 inmates.

Judge Chawatama also commended the Zambia Correctional Services for engaging in various agriculture activities to support food security in correctional facilities.