Governance

The Mo Ibrahim African Governance Index ranked Swaziland 26th out of 52 countries in 2013 in participation, human rights and sustainable economic opportunity attributable to weak institutional capacity. The Bill of Rights is enshrined in the country’s Constitution. However, there is need to strengthen relevant national institutions to fast-track the implementation of the Constitution.

In Swaziland, awareness of citizen rights and understanding of the procedures to access justice is a Constitutional right. Women continue to be disadvantaged by a range of economic, social and cultural factors that hinder them from accessing justice. High legal costs remain unregulated and largely unaffordable to the majority of the population.

The judiciary consists of 17 judges and 18 magistrates for the population of 1.1 million.  The country has 22 courts, of which four are higher courts and 18 are subordinate courts. The country also has a national traditional court system led by national court presidents (30) who are all male with the responsibility of adjudicating on customary and some civil issues. The Correctional Services report of January 2013 shows that of the 3,229 individuals charged with criminal offences and tried in a court of law, fifty per cent had no legal representation.

The traditional courts are spread out across the country in all regions. In the same year, the traditional courts registered 4,576 cases of which 4,435 were criminal cases and 148 were civil cases. There is a need to review the allocation of cases to traditional courts based on capacity to handle cases, especially criminal cases. Swaziland has a comprehensive structure for delivering judicial services; however, the capacity of judicial institutions and supporting law enforcement agencies needs to be strengthened in terms of process, procedure and service delivery in general. Limited infrastructure, insufficient human resources and a lack of tools required to execute justice effectively have contributed to a huge case backlog. A related challenge is inadequate domestication of international and regional human rights instruments.The Mo Ibrahim African Governance Index ranked Swaziland 26th out of 52 countries in 2013 in participation, human rights and sustainable economic opportunity attributable to weak institutional capacity. The Bill of Rights is enshrined in the country’s Constitution. However, there is need to strengthen relevant national institutions to fast-track the implementation of the Constitution.

In Swaziland, awareness of citizen rights and understanding of the procedures to access justice is a Constitutional right. Women continue to be disadvantaged by a range of economic, social and cultural factors that hinder them from accessing justice. High legal costs remain unregulated and largely unaffordable to the majority of the population.

The judiciary consists of 17 judges and 18 magistrates for the population of 1.1 million.  The country has 22 courts, of which four are higher courts and 18 are subordinate courts. The country also has a national traditional court system led by national court presidents (30) who are all male with the responsibility of adjudicating on customary and some civil issues. The Correctional Services report of January 2013 shows that of the 3,229 individuals charged with criminal offences and tried in a court of law, fifty per cent had no legal representation.

The traditional courts are spread out across the country in all regions. In the same year, the traditional courts registered 4,576 cases of which 4,435 were criminal cases and 148 were civil cases. There is a need to review the allocation of cases to traditional courts based on capacity to handle cases, especially criminal cases. Swaziland has a comprehensive structure for delivering judicial services; however, the capacity of judicial institutions and supporting law enforcement agencies needs to be strengthened in terms of process, procedure and service delivery in general. Limited infrastructure, insufficient human resources and a lack of tools required to execute justice effectively have contributed to a huge case backlog. A related challenge is inadequate domestication of international and regional human rights instruments.The Mo Ibrahim African Governance Index ranked Swaziland 26th out of 52 countries in 2013 in participation, human rights and sustainable economic opportunity attributable to weak institutional capacity. The Bill of Rights is enshrined in the country’s Constitution. However, there is need to strengthen relevant national institutions to fast-track the implementation of the Constitution.

In Swaziland, awareness of citizen rights and understanding of the procedures to access justice is a Constitutional right. Women continue to be disadvantaged by a range of economic, social and cultural factors that hinder them from accessing justice. High legal costs remain unregulated and largely unaffordable to the majority of the population.

The judiciary consists of 17 judges and 18 magistrates for the population of 1.1 million.  The country has 22 courts, of which four are higher courts and 18 are subordinate courts. The country also has a national traditional court system led by national court presidents (30) who are all male with the responsibility of adjudicating on customary and some civil issues. The Correctional Services report of January 2013 shows that of the 3,229 individuals charged with criminal offences and tried in a court of law, fifty per cent had no legal representation.

The traditional courts are spread out across the country in all regions. In the same year, the traditional courts registered 4,576 cases of which 4,435 were criminal cases and 148 were civil cases. There is a need to review the allocation of cases to traditional courts based on capacity to handle cases, especially criminal cases. Swaziland has a comprehensive structure for delivering judicial services; however, the capacity of judicial institutions and supporting law enforcement agencies needs to be strengthened in terms of process, procedure and service delivery in general. Limited infrastructure, insufficient human resources and a lack of tools required to execute justice effectively have contributed to a huge case backlog. A related challenge is inadequate domestication of international and regional human rights instruments.