|From left, Ms. Monica Moore, Deputy General Development Officer, USAID; Advocate Michelle Odayan, Chief of Party, JSSP; Mr. David Steelman, NCSC; Ms. Jill Derderian, Former U.S. Consulate General of KwaZulu Natal; and Ms. Brigitte Shabalala, KZN Regional Head of Courts.|
The Justice Sector Strengthening Program (JSSP) is a twenty-one month project funded by USAID and implemented by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) 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 caseflow 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 caseflow 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 caseflow 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.
JSSP also works towards strengthening the Prosecution and Adjudication of Sexual Offences. In this regard, the JSSP aims to strengthen civil society capacity to more effectively monitor and report on the impact of court process and judicial decisions in the field of gender based violence. To achieve this, the JSSP has consulted with various key civil society organizations (CSOs) who are leaders in respect to monitoring sexual offences and gender based violence (GBV) cases in the criminal justice system.
Following consultation, the JSSP will work in association with CSOs including the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), Teddy Bear Clinic (TBC), Twasarang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC), Resources Aimed at the Protection of Children against Abuse (RAPCAN), the Institute for Child Witness Research and Training (ICWRT) and Childline. To implement this process, the JSSP developed a network of CSOs and hosted the first civil society roundtable meeting on May 25, 2011. The roundtable provided a chance for CSOs to discuss their monitoring experiences and to strategically plan how they will embark on training to enhance monitoring, researching, writing and publishing an analysis of judicial decisions that impact gender justice.