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Partners welcome fresh impetus for justice sector collaboration in Kenya 

Nairobi, Kenya - 8 February 2019 : New measures to strengthen positive engagement between Kenya's justice sector agencies agreed at the 20th Meeting of the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) have been welcomed by development partners.

Under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Chief Justice, David Maraga, the Council members yesterday agreed to a encourage a culture of interagency consultation and collaboration to promote synergies among justice institutions and accelerate the efficient delivery of services to Kenyans.

The Council's spirit of collaboration and commitment to adopt new approaches to the administration of justice, including plea bargaining, have been commended by the European Union, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Council meeting was convened by the NCAJ with funding from the European Union as part of the KES 4.3 billion Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery (PLEAD).

Mr Erik Dhaenens, Programme Manager at the EU Delegation to Kenya, said the outcomes, including a decision to establish a PLEAD Steering Committee, signal a fresh impetus for greater collaboration between all actors in Kenya's criminal justice chain.

"Our joint success in improving the efficiency of Kenya's criminal justice system through PLEAD will depend largely on the coherence and coordination role played by the NCAJ to sustain engagement between justice institutions and key representatives of other state and non-State agencies who are members of the Council.

"We therefore welcome moves to strengthen the institutional framework for NCAJ and its membership through developing a robust Strategic Plan and Policy to guide its evolution.

"Further, establishing the PLEAD Steering Committee is an important milestone and additional cooperation mechanism that will help build trust among Kenyans in their justice system," Mr Dhaenens said.

The new Steering Committee will oversee the policy direction of PLEAD and coordinate different programme outcomes to ensure greater collaboration, synergy and impact, including capacity building and broader support for the NCAJ.

"Since its creation in 2011, the NCAJ has struggled to become fully operational and pursue its mandate of ensuring a coordinated, efficient, effective and consultative approach in the administration of justice and reform of the justice system," Ms Charity Kagwi-Ndungu, Head of UNODC's Criminal Justice Programme, said in her remarks at the meeting.

"The PLEAD Steering Committee will be a new mechanism to ensure the members of NCAJ collectively address the challenges facing the sector while maintaining their independence of their respective institutions," Ms Kagwi-Ndungu said.

The Council meeting outcomes follow a statement by the Judiciary Leaders last week recognizing that the war against corruption can only be won through inter-agency collaboration of all actors within the justice sector.

The PLEAD Steering Committee is due to meet twice a year.

Media contacts:

European Union Delegation to Kenya - Beatrice Hongo,

UNODC - Julie Marks,

About PLEAD:

PLEAD is a partnership between the European Union, Government of Kenya and United Nations aimed at improving the efficiency of Kenya's criminal justice system and increasing the use of alternatives to imprisonment. Launched in March 2018, the five-year, EUR 34.15 million (KES 4.3 billion) programme is the European Union's largest in the justice sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.