Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice, Luke Malaba says the Judicial Service Commission has registered one Covid-19 death while 31 of its members are down with the virus.
The statistics are as at January the 5th.
While officially opening the 2020 legal year on Monday, the Chief Justice said; “Currently there is a total of 31 confirmed cases amongst members of the organisation. Two members are in critical condition. One died on 5 January 2021.”
In light of this, court proceedings in Zimbabwe are set to go virtual to keep the country’s judicial system functional.
Currently, most court proceedings are on hold as the country is on lockdown level four.
Only those performing essential functions related to the protection of human rights, such as mandatory initial appearance in court after arrest are operational, resulting in huge backlogs. As a result, the Chief Justice said it is imperative to introduce virtual sittings.
“To this end, plans to introduce virtual court sittings are at an advanced stage. The process involves presentation of submissions by litigants and parties to disputes without them being required to be physically present at court.
“This digitisation of the courts and their processes has already been adopted and is in use in other jurisdictions in the region and beyond. We must as an institution see beyond the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.