The judiciary will this year introduce live streaming of cases attracting public and national interest, Chief Justice Luke Malaba has said.
In his keynote address on Monday to mark the beginning of the 2020 Legal Year at the Constitutional Court, Chief Justice Malaba said live broadcasting of cases is vital in promoting transparency and accountability while members of the general public who can not attend court sessions will be able to know what goes on in courts.
This would inspire confidence in the functioning of the judiciary as an institution and help maintain the respect that it deserved as a co-equal organ of the state, Justice Malaba said.
He said live streaming of the 2018 presidential election petition hearing was an eye opener to the judiciary, hence the idea to make this a permanent feature.
The most watched court case that was streamed live in recent time was the August 2018 election petition by MDC leader Nelson Chamisa against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and Zanu-PF, which was unanimously thrown out by all nine Constitutional Court judges for lack of evidence.
In September 2018, the Indian Supreme Court also pushed for greater transparency in the judicial system by ruling that live-streaming of court proceedings of cases of constitutional importance would serve as an instrument for greater accountability.
In the case of India, issues of environment, air pollution, ban on liquor sales near to national highways, ban on firecrackers and extra judicial killings, all of which affect the public who, however, do not get to see how decisions are made by the court, were deemed of great importance that they are now handled in courts with a live stream.
A top Harare lawyer told Zimbabwe Voice that other countries and jurisdictions such as Canada, Australia, the UK, New Zealand, South Africa, the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court, permit varying degrees of recordings of court proceedings.