The Office of the Judiciary said it is alarmed by sustained attacks against judges following last year’s general election, which culminated in a landmark Supreme Court judgement that upheld the poll outcome. In a statement yesterday, the Judiciary spokesperson Ockert Jansen said judges were being targeted on social and the mainstream media. “These attacks are however becoming all the more persistent and insidious and may create the impression that the Judiciary’s silence amounts to an acceptance, or indeed justification, of these sentiments. It has therefore become imperative for the Judiciary to reply to these allegations and attacks,” he said. He added that the constitution recognises that those who assume judicial office are not without past political affiliations and in fact, “it is disingenuous for anyone to suggest that persons should only become judges if they have no known political affiliations at the time they assume judicial office”.
“What the constitution demands though is that once appointed, judicial officers cast aside political affiliations and take the oath to uphold the constitution and the laws of Namibia and to do justice to all, regardless of who they are and what they represent. In fact, once appointed, a judge must cease being a member of a political party and not promote the cause of any political party. Anyone who has reason to believe that a judge is conflicted on any ground recognised in law, has the right to seek the recusal of such a judge,” he continued. Jansen added all judges are appointed on merit and taking into account their qualifications and experience and on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). He said suggestions that the fact that the head of state appoints judges compromises on their independence, has no basis. “In similar vein, the heads of the three organs of State have the obligation to be civil towards each other while respecting the boundaries that define their relationship. The chief justice’s association with the president of the Republic of Namibia at an official/ceremonial function such as the opening of the legal year is to be seen in that light.” He further said the Namibian Judiciary prides itself in its independence and impartiality as demonstrated by its track record over the years. “It is especially in times of intense political discord and contestation within society, that the obligation is the greatest on the nation’s body politic to insulate the Judiciary from the controversies of the day and to avoid the temptation to cast aspersions on judges, either individually or as a collective, lest it erode public confidence in an institution whose reason for existence is to do justice to all with impartiality and integrity.”
2020-02-18 07:46:00 | 1 months ago