The Justice Sector Support Program was awarded to the National Center for State Courts and Development Professionals Inc. (as a sub contractor) as a twenty-one month project funded by USAID in South Africa. The JSSP works in partnership with key justice sector stakeholders to support and augment several justice sector reform initiatives characterized by two broad goals towards:
- Strengthening court administration and case flow management to provide for accessible, timely and fair justice to the citizens of South Africa; and
- Strengthening the effectiveness of the prosecution and adjudication of sexual offences cases, and the ability of courts to better manage cases of sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) fairly and sensitively.
JSSP provides technical assistance to the judiciary in the implementation of a robust semi-automated case flow management system (ICMF) to advance a consistent and shared administrative and judicial management practice for South African courts. To this end, the JSSP facilitated a learning exchange and study tour for nine representatives of the judiciary and a representative from Court Services to the USA in December 2010.
The JSSP further seeks to augment this process of shared experience, and recently hosted an ICFM seminar, entitled “Prompt and Accessible Justice for South Africa” delivered by David Steelman, a case flow management specialist, who together with Jim McMillan, NCSC Case Management Information Systems specialist, visited South Africa to undertake a review of current ICFM practice. The seminar was organized by the Regional Office of the Department of Justice in KwaZulu Natal and was attended by several judges, magistrates, prosecutors, public defenders, police services and other key justice sector stakeholders. Evident from the discussions during the seminar was the need for greater learning and engagement to advance ICFM dialogue and practice within the courts.
GENDER BASED VIOLENCE
DPI’s role in JSSP focused on providing technical assistance to the Sexual Offenses and Community Affairs (SOCA) Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). During the life of this project, DPI will provide a complete analysis of judicial decisions relating to sex based crimes and provide training for prosecutors on how to effectively conduct Prosecutor Guided Investigations in sex offense cases. The project will also work closely with South African NGO’s to create a more comprehensive training curriculum for court intermediaries that are responsible for interviewing child victims of rape during a trail. Task 5 of the project is The Judicial Leadership Initiative, the focus of which is to provide training to the judiciary on how to effectively engage young men in dialogue with the purpose of preventing rape. The project was supported with a U.S. Study Tour that was organized by DPI, which was used to reinforce the technical assistance delivered during the project.