CHIEF Magistrate Emmanuel Kouhota was among senior magistrates and judges from the Pacific that visited the Waitakere District Court in Auckland on Friday.
They were hosted by Judge Lisa Tremewan, as they wrapped up discussions at the Pacific Regional Judges and Magistrates Consultation in New Zealand.
Organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the consultation gathered together 25 senior magistrates and judges from 15 Pacific Island countries to discuss experiences around the application of human rights in courts across the region.
“This consultation has given us some foresight into what needs to be done in our country…for example the consideration of setting up specialised courts such as the Family Court to deal with these pressing issues,” Mr Kouhota said.
“Training and exposure such as this is important to equip magistrates to properly deal with human rights and family issues in our country,” he added.
Senior Judge Honora E. Remengesau-Rudimch of Palau said:
“It has been an honour to be able to participate in this consultation on human rights hosted by SPC and to be able to share our country’s experiences as well as hear from the other Pacific countries. The visit to the Waitakere Family Violence Court was very inspiring.”
The consultation last week provided a vibrant space for the judicial decision makers to exchange their experiences and knowledge on the application of human rights in courts.
Guest speakers at the consultation included South Australia’s former director of public prosecutions and more recently Justice of the High Court in the Solomon Islands, Justice Stephen Pallaras QC; the Chief Justice of Nauru, Joni Madraiwiwi, and former Fiji Family Law Court Judge, Madam Mere Pulea.
Key themes of the three-day event included access to justice, implementation of domestic violence laws and regulations and family law, as well as linkages to good governance and development.
SPC hosts annual trainings on human rights for a range of stakeholders including Members of Parliament, judges and magistrates, lawyers, civil servants and civil society groups.
SPC is the principal scientific and technical agency supporting development in the Pacific Island region.
Through its Regional Rights Resource team, SPC assists governments and civil society organisations in Pacific Island countries and territories to increase the observance of all human rights (civil, political, economic, social and cultural) and governance standards to enhance development in the Pacific.
The Senior Magistrates consultation in New Zealand this week is supported by the Australian Government and the European Union.