Cunene court suffers backlogs, poor infrastucture

Poor court infrastructure is contributing to poor performance of the court system in Cunene, says the presiding judge. The Minister of Justice for Courts has promised improvements this year.

Speaking at the end of January 2012 to Agência Angola Press, the presiding judge of Cunene, Jeronimo Gonga Cassule, said 1 469 criminal cases were judged in 2011 by the court of the southern Cunene province, an increase on the previous year. Cassule said however 2027 cases were received during 2011 and only 558 of these were processed.  

The most common crimes appearing before the court included theft and robbery, possession and consumption of drugs, assault, murder, rape, border infringement and economic crimes.

At least 47 criminal cases committed by minors aged 11-17 were filed in the court of the Cunene province in 2011, compared to 18 filed in year 2010 (38% increase). Cassule ascribed the increase to the high number of street children in the province. Cassule said that the crimes committed by minors include thefts and robberies, rapes and murders.

Cassule Jerome said that the lack of infrastructure for trial sessions and the lack of a working room for judges hindered the court.

In February 2012 Agência Angola Press reported that the deputy Minister of Justice for Courts, João Alves Monteiro, announced that the court building for the Cunene province would be improved this year.

Monteiro, who was speaking at the end of his visit to Cunene province, said the rehabilitation of the building is a priority due cracks in the walls which let rain water in. Monteiro said the visit enabled him and his delegation to learn of the main constraints facing the justice sector in the Cunene region and outline measures to settle them.

He said the purpose of the sector is to continue building courts and associated services, as part of the process of modernisation of justice institutions.

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