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State of justice sector report shows Kenya on transformation track 

Nairobi, 23 January 2020 - Kenya’s latest State of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice Report (SOJAR) reveals positive trends in the performance of the justice sector amid challenges that underline the need for continued support from development partners.

Alongside justice sector stakeholders, representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today attended the launch of SOJAR 2018-19 by the President of the Republic of Kenya, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, and the Chief Justice, Hon. David Maraga.

The annual report details activities by the Judiciary and 21 other agencies involved in the administration of justice, including a range of actions supported by UNODC and the European Union through the Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery in Kenya (PLEAD).

Through PLEAD, UNODC is privileged to support priorities of: the Judiciary; National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) and several of its committees; Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP); Probation and Aftercare Service (PACS); and the Witness Protection Agency (WPA).

Among the report’s results, there was an improved case clearance rate, improved customer and staff satisfaction rate and an overall drop in corruption incidences in the Judiciary.

“It’s reassuring to see positive trends and UNODC is committed to maintaining the momentum of justice reforms together with our PLEAD national partners and the European Union,” the Head of UNODC’s Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice pillar in Eastern Africa, Ms. Charity Kagwi, said.

Among other data in SOJAR, prison congestion remained a pressing concern with Kenya’s prison facilities overcrowded by about 83 per cent. The Kenya Prisons Service reported that in 2018-19, the daily average prisoners’ population was 55,000, of whom some 25,000 were un-convicted prisoners.

Additionally, the report concludes that eight key, common challenges are affecting agencies in the justice sector, including inadequate human and financial resources, low uptake of technology to leverage service delivery, policy and legislative gaps, and corruption.

“In 2020, our assistance through PLEAD to realize a more efficient and effective criminal justice system will include reducing the pressure on over-stretched justice officials by promoting diversion for minor offences, supporting wider use of plea bargaining and promoting restorative justice,” Ms. Kagwi said.

Between January and June 2019 alone, UNODC provided technical and logistics assistance to conduct some 125 workshops focused on strategic planning, training and capacity building for representatives of NCAJ and its committees, the Judiciary, ODPP, PACS and WPA.

As a major development partner, UNODC is currently finalizing its planned assistance for 2020 in consultation with these government institutions.

About PLEAD:

The Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery in Kenya (PLEAD)is a partnership involving the Government of Kenya, European Union, United Nations and civil society that is improving the delivery of justice services, settlement of disputes and use of alternatives to imprisonment. Launched in 2018, the EUR 34.15 million) partnership is funded by the European Union. Visit PLEAD.