Law Society decries attacks on the Judiciary

Niël Terblanché

The Law Society of Namibia (LSN) has expressed deep concern about the public attacks on the Judiciary following the recent Supreme Court judgement that affords foreign spouses in same-sex marriages the same immigration rights as foreign wives or husbands of Namibians.

According to Clive Kavendjii, the Chairperson of the Law Society of Namibia, there can be no justification for the attacks on the Judiciary especially where such attacks interfere with the independence of the Judiciary.

“Attacks on the Judiciary have serious ramifications for the rule of law and the administration of justice. In any constitutional democracy founded on the rule of law, the judiciary is an essential and integral part of the system of checks and balances and to this end, it is of cardinal importance that judges perform their work without fear of reprisal and intimidation,” Kavendjii said.

He said that while it is acceptable to hold judges accountable for their decisions and to criticise them when warranted it is important that this is done respectfully and constructively.

“When criticism of judges’ ruling crosses the line into personal attacks or intimidation, public respect for our system of justice is undermined creating risk to our constitutional bedrock and the preservation of liberty,” he reiterated.

Kavendjii stated that the Judiciary is not immune from public expressions of concern and criticism.

“But any criticism of the Judiciary must be grounded on a careful analysis of the facts and the law and the aim must be directed at improving the administration of justice and not aimed at denigrating the integrity of individual judges, the Judiciary as a whole or those involved in the administration of justice in our country,” he said.

According to Kavendjii, Article 78 of the Namibian Constitution underscores the independence of the Judiciary and enjoins people not to interfere with the work of the judicial officers and demands of all other organs of the State, to protect the Judiciary.

“The LSN urges all members of the public to be cautious, exercise prudence, pragmatism and show due respect for the Judiciary when making public statements thereon,” he implored.

Kavendjii urged all persons to follow the right avenues to express their views in a manner that builds and ensures harmony without interfering with the independence of the Judiciary.

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