Background: 

Strategies:

The Direct Democracy Forum believe that the best way that parliament and the executive can possibly assist and protect the courts, in terms of the constitution, is to take their hands off of the courts. 

To this end, the DDF will introduce the following measures:

Public Protector: 

  • Assert the independence of the Public Protector.
  • Make the Public Protector answerable only to Parliament such that Parliament could only intervene in the affairs of the Public Protector through an act of Parliament requiring a 75% majority in the lower house and an 80% majority in the proposed upper house with no minority veto applied. This would be the same majority required to amend the Constitution. 
  • Staff and equip the Public Protector to be able to investigate and prosecute in a court of law in its own name, instead of being dependent on the National Prosecuting Authority.

 National Prosecuting Authority: 

  •  Assert the independence of the NPA.
  • Make the Public Protector answerable only to Parliament such that Parliament could only intervene in the affairs of the Public Protector through an act of Parliament requiring a 75% majority in the lower house and an 80% majority in the proposed upper house with no minority veto applied. This would be the same majority required to amend the Constitution.
  • Staff and equip the NPA Protector to be able to investigate and prosecute the highest offices in the land with its own investigators.

 Constitutional Court:

  • Assert the independence of the Chief Justice and the Constitutional Court.
  • Have the Judicial Services Commission (the JCI) answerable to the Constitutional Court.
  • Have the Constitutional Court answerable only to Parliament such that Parliament could only intervene in the affairs of the Constitutional Court through an act of parliament requiring a 75% majority in the lower house and an 80% majority in the proposed upper house with no minority veto applied. This would be the same majority required to amend the Constitution.
  • In consultation with leaders of all the Political Parties represented in the National Assembly, have the JCI appoint the Chief Justice and other Judges in the Constitutional Court and in other courts, without need of Presidential approval..

Special Courts:

  •  in consultation with Parliament, Have the JCI appoint Judges to special Courts established by Parliament.  

Magistrates Courts:

  • Have the Magistrates’ Commission answerable to the Constitutional Court.
  • Have the Magistrates’ Commission appoint all Magistrates and public prosecutors and public defenders. 

Remission of Sentences and Presidential Pardons:

  • Have all reductions of sentences only by appeal to a court higher than the sentencing court.
  • Have Presidential Pardons only by an act of parliament requiring a 75% legislative assembly majority and an 80% majority of the proposed Senate, with no minority veto.   This would be the same requirement for an amendment of the Constitution.

Effects:

The DDF believe these moves will strengthen the independence of the Judiciary as a whole and,  whilst in the pursuance of its affairs, remove the Judiciary from party political, Parliamentary and Executive influence.