A2Justice Deplores Criminal Interference with the Administration of Justice in Ekiti State By Persons Who Must Now be Brought to Justice

On Monday September 22, 2014 judicial proceedings at the Ekiti State High Court were abruptly disrupted by a group of persons who invaded the court premises and attacked lawyers, litigants and court officials in reaction to a ruling delivered by Hon. Justice Isaac Ogunyemi in a case challenging the eligibility of the Governor elect, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, to contest the governorship election.  

Access to Justice deplores the disruption of court proceedings in Hon. Justice Isaac Ogunyemi's court by persons who felt aggrieved by the ruling of the Judge. Attacks on Courts, Lawyers, Judges or Court Users are direct attacks on the rule of law, the administration of justice and constitutional democracy. Judges, lawyers and litigants are guaranteed a free atmosphere to discharge their responsibilities fairly, conscientiously and diligently.

The actual interference with this freedom by supporters of any party before the court is unfortunate, deplorable and is a real threat and affront to the administration of justice; it is a dangerous precedent which must be repelled and rebuffed with all the power of the State.

 If the perpetrators are not punished in a sufficiently deterrent way, the violation of the sanctity of the courtroom and the disruption of judicial proceedings would become attractive tactics to hold courts to ransom and ensure judges are unable to decide disputes submitted to them. A Courtroom should offer safety to all those who come before it, and the violation of that expectation constitutes a criminal interference with the administration of justice. The United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary provides;

 1. The independence of the judiciary shall be guaranteed by the State and enshrined in the Constitution or the law of the country. It is the duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary.

 2. The judiciary shall decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.

These principles were gravely violated by persons who must now be called to account. A2Justice welcomes the prosecution of all those who were involved in this sordid act.
 
Signed
Chinelo Chinweze
For: Access to Justice