The Honourable Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia, Lady Justice Irene Mambilima has said the Government and Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) must take the lead in uplifting the status of women through affirmative action.
Hon. Lady Justice Mambilima made this observation during an interactive session on the topic “Why is justice important for sustainable peace and development” before a packed audience of international law scholars at the Humanity Hub in The Hague, Netherlands.
The session, which was live-streamed on the internet, was conducted during the Hague Talks, a platform that debates issues around peace and justice. Hon. Lady Justice Mambilima shared the stage with the Honourable Chief Justice of Ghana, Lady Justice Sophia Akuffo.
The Honourable Chief Justice told the audience that on its part, the Court would ensure that Judges and Magistrates are trained on how to interpret international instruments relating to women’s rights and build their capacity to hear such cases.
“Women are the most vulnerable because they are at the bottom of the ladder. The highest levels of poverty are among women. The rate of literacy is lowest among the women. Women do not have resources to litigate and often do not know their rights.
“The key to empowering women is education. Women must be educated, so that they can assert themselves and get economic independence. If you nurture a girl from the beginning to accept a subservient position or that her position is at the bottom of the ladder, they do not develop any ambition,” the Honourable Chief Justice Mambilima said.
The Hon. Lady Justice Akuffo said without justice there can be no peace, order and development. She said justice was quality product which must have effective outcomes, once delivered.
The Hon. Lady Justice Mambilima is part of a delegation of six Chief Justices who are on a working visit to Arusha, Tanzania and The Hague to understand the operations of international and regional organisations for peace and the criminal justice system.
The delegation includes Mr. Justice Ibrahim Juma of Tanzania, Mr. Justice Hassan Jallow of The Gambia, Mr. Justice Desmond Edwards of Sierra Leone and Mr. Justice Marc Balancy of Mauritius. Others are Supreme Court Judges, Lady Justice Amina Augie of Nigeria and Mr. Justice Alphonse Hitiyaremye of Rwanda.
The delegation has so far visited the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the African Court for Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. They have also visited the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the successor of the tribunals for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia as well as the East African Court of Justice.
The working visit has been organised by the African Institute of International Law, the African Foundation for International Law, the Hague Project Peace and Justice and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.