Chief Justice David Maraga has said that the Judiciary is at an advanced stage in digitising all its operations with the aim of helping in expeditious disposal of cases as well as keeping the integrity of the cases.
Mr Maraga explained that with technology, the Judiciary will speed up the hearing of cases and guarantee the integrity of records which are mostly in paper form.
He said that the challenges in dealing with manual records are two-fold – inadvertent destruction or loss of records, especially exhibits, from files. In the process of handling the files some of them are lost.
This is in addition to instances where exhibits disappear from the files as a result of a collusion between the parties involved and some staff at the Judiciary.
“Handling of records in cases of voluminous records in regard to petitions, one needs a lot of space, but if we move to the digital front, a judge can download the files he needs and move with them to their home and write the judgment at the comfort of their homes and much faster,” said Mr Maraga.
He was speaking Wednesday as he officially opened a capacity building workshop on cybercrime and electronic evidence at Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi.
The three-day training for Kenyan judges has been organized by the Attorney-Generals Alliance (AGA) Africa Alliance Partnership in collaboration with the Judiciary Training Institute.
In a move to embrace technology in all its processes, the CJ stated that this year alone, they have set aside Sh400 million for their ICT department to help in the digitisation process.
He pointed out that already, all proceedings at the Supreme Court have been fully automated with the Court of Appeal coming next.
Mr Maraga added that they have already carried out a pilot project at the Commercial Division of the High Court and they are at the stage of acquiring equipment for use before moving to other divisions and regions.
“The world we live in is moving towards technology and all government institutions are using technology in one way or the other. The Judiciary cannot afford to be left behind. We should have done a lot better and moved far ahead than where we are at the moment but we are making good progress and by the end of the year you will have something to report on how far we have moved,” he said.
On his part, Markus Green – an AGA-AAP board member – said that many Kenyans are exposed to cyber-crimes like identity theft and money laundering due to lack of smart cyber security strategies while operating the internet, besides the ever growing transformation of cyber criminals.
Mr Green noted that Kenya is currently ranked third in Africa and 45th globally in the 2017 world cyber security index with the crime accounting for Sh21 billion in Kenya alone last year.
He called for the development of a strong cyber awareness, industry-aligned processes and procedures as well as the right technology to combat the ever growing computer-oriented crimes.
“There is need to train judges in order to have a working understanding of how to gather electronic cybercrime evidence so that they can deliver justice in their cases,” he said.
IMPORTANT FOR JUDGES
On the workshop, CJ Maraga said the training is important for Kenyan judges to understand the kind of knowledge one has to have to handle cybercrimes and understand how those crimes are committed.
“This way, they will be able to understand the evidence as we have in the past had challenges on the admission of electronic evidence with a number of arguments on the type of evidence and witnesses in such cases,” he said.
AGA-AAP provides a recognised platform for exchanging ideas and raising awareness of global concerns relating to transnational capacity building as well as promoting the rule of law to the African legal professionals.
At present, AGA-AAP is making a difference in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.