Commonwealth to set up new unit to counter violent extremism- CMJA Conference 2016


Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland speaking on day two of the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA) Conference, while expressing disappointment for her non-attendance, described the annual event as thought-provoking and important in what could be considered as one of the most sensitive times in the Commonwealth’s jurisprudential history.


During a video message, the Baroness said the rule of law and its application has never been more important as it is today, at a time when conflict is rife and global stability appears more fragile.


She noted that the need for judicial and magisterial sagacity and unity of jurisprudential interpretations is very clear. This appears to be the opportunity for the commonwealth judicial and magisterial family to come together to ensure our shared common experience is not  only particularly valued.


The Commonwealth SG informed that the organization will be setting up a new unit to counter violent extremism and conducting workshops in the Pacific, Africa and the Caribbean for parliamentarians to examine cyber security within their regional context.


Delivering the key note address, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Anthony Carmona highlighted a nexus between culture or cultural expression and law, citing the late Guyanese poet Martin Carter’s call for the respect of human rights through his art.


The artist in society is the conscience and pulse beat of a people and I can say without contradiction that in our neck of the woods the artist whether he be a calypsonian or reggae singer, poet, dramatist, writer, painter, often captures what is wrong in society, what is right and what should be made right. The lexicon of the artist is however, different from the lexicon of the judge but the mindset, the mandate are not too dissimilar. What is very real is that the artist in burgeoning democracies is often another messenger of human rights and justice,” he pointed out.


 Carmona said the very basis of the rule of law today is in crisis, citing that the “boots of steel” continue to trample on fundamental rights, due process and the rules of natural justice, which is exemplified by mass migration, human displacement, human trafficking and terrorism in the “ever evolving war.”


He further pointed to the rule of the judiciary as a peace maker and stabilizing force in a country by means of its indomitable adherence to the furtherance of the rule of law.


Meantime, Mohamed Chande Othman, Chief Justice of Tanzania in a video welcome note invited judges and magistrates to attend the CMJA conference which would be held there from September 24-28, 2017 in Dar es Sal under the theme “Building an Effective and Accountable Judiciary.”


This year’s conference will conclude on Thursday, September 22, 2016.


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