Koome: Courts not reform centre for children
Chief Justice Martha Koome has warned parents against leaving the rehabilitation of their children to the courts.
The CJ, who launched Children Service Month at the Supreme Court yesterday, said the court process should not be abused as a place of discipline or reform for children.
“I implore you to utilise other avenues like counselling and religious instructions to help with instilling discipline and values in the children… In our African culture, children belong to the community, and we can only protect them if we all come together,” she said.
The Children Service Month is dedicated to sensitising the public on the rights of children and to hearing, determining and fast track cases involving children across all court stations.
While launching the service month, Koome said she was very passionate about children’s rights because they are among the most vulnerable persons in the country. “You can hold me personally accountable for anything that happens to children in the Judicial system because I have instructed courts to prioritise children’s cases,” she said.
The CJ noted the Children Act, No. 29 of 2022, which was enacted in July, envisions a Child-Friendly Justice system and if fully implemented, will ensure that children’s rights are not violated through the justice system.
“Therefore, as the Chairperson of the National Council on the Administration of Justice, I am making a rallying call to all the agencies in the justice sector and stakeholders, to champion the full implementation of the Act in line with the clarion call of this years’ service month,” she said.
Koome also said she had directed all courts countrywide to hold the Children Service Month with a view to not only clearing the backlog of children cases but also promoting the rights of the child within communities.