The official launch of the 2015 judicial year in the country has come and gone and the judicial family is fully down to work. The media hype that heralded the solemn ceremony has also been laid to rest. But reflection no doubt remains rife, certainly on why the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court chose to entertain his audience on the function of a judge.
As a matter of fact, Daniel Mekobe Sone in his maiden session since taking up the prestigious position late last year spoke on, “The role of a judge in a State of Law.” He was talking about Cameroon as a State of law, although perfection is yet to be attained. The Chief Justice used the platform to remind his peers of the pivotal role judges have to play in the country’s legal system and by extension the socio-economic and political stability needed for all to live, feel concerned and contribute to development.
Since then, many must have certainly been wondering whether the Chief Justice was addressing noticeable shortcomings in the judicial family or pre-empting deviant behaviours that could tarnish the image of the third power in the country. Far from being just another discourse like others as is the tradition that the solemn opening focuses on a particular topic, happenings in the country and the long-term development plans warranted such an outing. Judges by the roles construe the law, assess the evidence presented and control how hearings and trials unfold in their courtrooms. Their decisions can change a lot in a country.
Be it criminal or civil cases where evidence and legal arguments are presented, judges are expected to remain above the fray, providing an independent and partial assessment of the facts and how the law applies to them. This gives judges the function of impartial decision-makers in the pursuit of justice. This, of course, is supposed to be a rule than an exception.
As Daniel Mekobe Sone put it, the judge must be a respecter of the laws in place and render justice within a reasonable deadline, through a transparent and clear procedure with the ruling as clear as possible and in public. In this case, the judge must be free from all temptations be it administrative or financial. If the hands of a judge are tied because ‘instructions have come from above’ or because money has changed hands, and one person punished or freed unjustifiably, then justice would have been sold to the dogs. And this could be a source of problems which may range from rivalry to general defeatism, all detrimental to social cohesion needed to get the country going.
Above all, this would be damaging to attracting investors, especially direct foreign investments highly needed to attain already outlined growth objectives. No investor worth the salt would set base in a country in which hisher investments would not be protected by the justice system. A system in which someone slaps you and jails you thereafter because the judge has been bought over to twist the law is to say the least, dispelling to investors. This destroys the business climate and frightens banks from dishing out loans for fear of recovery. It also leaves the economy to suffer in backwardness. But once it is ascertained that all are equal before the law irrespective of who you are, what you have or whom you know, investors would want to risk. The judge is therefore a purveyor of a sound social, political and economic life the country needs to stand the tests of time. He absolutely needs to cling to the law and use his conscience to render justice influence peddlers notwithstanding.
Source : Cameroon Tribune