MAPUTO– The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, has unanimously approved a government Bill to expand the powers of district courts to enable them to grant provisional releases in criminal cases, which until now only the provincial courts have been able to grant.
Introducing the Bill on Monday, Justice Minister Isaque Chande said the purpose of decentalising the power to the district courts is to ensure a justice system that is closer to citizens.
Allowing district courts to decide on requests for provisional release will reduce the slowness in handling cases due to the distance between district and provincial capitals. The current system, Chande added, runs the risk of violating the limits on preventive detention, and contributes to overcrowding in the prisons.
A further innovation in the Bill is that it reduces the judicial holidays from two months to one. Up until now, this holiday period was in January and February each year. During this period, although trials which had started the previous year could continue, no new trials could begin.
Now the holidays will be cut to just one month, January, and the judicial year will formally open on the first clear day of February, rather than of March.
Chande said this change will help clear up backlogs in the courts, and improve their capacity to respond to requests from citizens.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK