Village court officials and land mediators in Rabaul District, East New Britain have been urged to strengthen their reporting system.
Department of Justice and Attorney- General deputy secretary Josephine Pitmur told village court officials and land mediators at the Rabaul Urban LLG conference room on Tuesday Nov 1.
She said quarterly returns is a requirement under the Village Court Act that must be submitted every quarter on court sittings however DJAG has not seen any reports on court sittings from ENB in the last six years which is a concern.
With the National Government investing a lot in terms of infrastructure in the village court system, it requires quarterly reports from village courts
Mrs Pitmur said reports submitted quarterly will assist DJAG to determine the crime rate in respective districts, determine if village courts are functioning and officials are performing as they are paid allowances and enable DJAG to intervene and address law and order problems.
“Maybe village court clerks are doing their work but it is not reaching us through the quarterly reports. So we are coming down to the district level to remind officials of quarterly reports,” she said.
She said because DJAG has invested in infrastructure in Rabaul and Pomio districts through the Community Justice Service Centres, it is appropriate to build capacity to deliver services.
She said according to statistics from the Public Solicitors Office, Rabaul and Kokopo have been identified as hotspots for crime.
“But it would be good to reconcile these statistics with reports from the village courts. DJAG wants to prove crime in hotspot areas through reports from respective village courts to form part of ENB status report on the prevalence of crime rate,” Mrs Pitmur said.
Rabaul Deputy District Administrator for Administration, Babel Umri said there needs to be more awareness on the role of the village court so people understand its role in the law and justice sector. This includes restoring law and order to make village courts more effective and the restore the authority and respect they once enjoyed.
He recommended that village court clerks as the pillars of the village court system must have positions created under the public service to add value to infrastructure that has been built