Rising to the Challenges of COVID-19
June 29, 2020

Rising to the Challenges of COVID-19

Court cases in Mauritius are traditionally heard in open court with legal advisers, litigants, witnesses as well as the court staff in attendance. In regular circumstances, the public also has physical access to the courts and the administrative sections during office hours. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges to previous methods and pushed the judiciary to expand its virtual operations.

The Government of Mauritius initiated a lockdown on 20 March 2020 under section 79 of the Public Health Act to curb the spread of COVID-19. It is an extraordinary measure that could limit or suspend fundamental rights and freedoms. All public and private businesses were closed, but the Courts continued operations as one of the 'essential services' for the hearing of urgent cases.

Crime Prevention Through Sports - Events - Launch of Technical Guide on Preventing Violent Extremism through Sports
June 23, 2020

Virtual Launch Event: Technical Guide on Preventing Violent Extremism through Sports

This Technical Guide provides comprehensive guidance on how sport and sport-based programmes can be used in the context of Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) to address related risk and protective factors. The event will highlight the important role that sport can play in preventing violent extremism and will serve to share experiences from states and civil society organizations on the effective integration of sport in national policy frameworks and the implementation of sport-based programmes.

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When: Thursday, 2 July 2020, 2:00 PM CET

Where: Online/Microsoft Teams (registered participants will receive a link to join the event)

Judicial Suspension and Electronic Access to Justice
June 22, 2020

Judicial Suspension and Electronic Access to Justice

Can judges wear masks in court trials? COVID-19 presents us with a novel question that demonstrates a conflict of values in this time.

If trials contribute to the spread of the virus, public trust in the judiciary could be undermined. It goes beyond the judicial duties of a judge if performing those duties poses a direct threat to the judge's life or health.

However, the timely exercise of the judicial function may be more important than ever. According to the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, a judge shall perform all judicial duties with reasonable promptness.  In the Republic of Korea, instead of compulsory and full-scale lockdown, the government instead has imposed obligatory self-quarantine only on high-risk groups.

Judicial guarantees for the protection of the rights of people in vulnerable situations in a state of health emergency
June 15, 2020

Judicial guarantees for the protection of the rights of people in vulnerable situations in a state of health emergency

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the spread of COVID-19 an international health emergency. All countries have also taken action against the emergence and spread of the pandemic and the subsequent health emergency. Most countries have declared states of emergency and adopted restrictive measures for human movement, such as closing air, land and sea borders, as well as in some cases, compulsory social isolation.

These measures include the restriction of some fundamental rights recognized by the states in their respective constitutions.

Promoting a more humane criminal justice system, UNODC launches brand new prisoner classification guide
June 12, 2020

Promoting a more humane criminal justice system, UNODC launches brand new prisoner classification guide

With nearly 11 million people incarcerated at any given time across the globe, prison management and the treatment of prisoners are two essential areas within the criminal justice system. Critically, to ensure that imprisonment is used as an opportunity to correct rather than punish, prison administrations must be able to correctly classify prisoners - an important move which helps bolster their ability to rehabilitate and reduce reoffending.

Being able to correctly classify prisoners impacts an array of prison management aspects: it best determines the assessment of inmate risks; it improves the safety and security of prisoners, prison staff and the general public; it bolsters human rights-based custody; and, ultimately, it builds a more effective way of operating a prison system.