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A Green Judiciary! Kenya does it.

A Green Judiciary! Kenya does it.

Undoubtedly, the pervasive impact of climate change is palpable, affecting each of us more profoundly with each passing day. As we scramble for solutions, allow me, as a legal practitioner, to draw attention to the crucial role of the judiciary in addressing this pressing issue.

It is widely acknowledged that the consequences of climate change disproportionately affect communities, particularly those in the global south who bear minimal responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions. The narrative of loss and damage, coupled with the reluctance of major emitters to take responsibility, can be disheartening.

Amidst calls for climate justice, the judiciary emerges as a key player in Africa, tasked with promoting equitable outcomes. Through the interpretation and enforcement of environmental laws, alongside ensuring access to justice for affected communities, the judiciary stands at the forefront of advancing climate justice.

Judicial officers have the authority to hold governments and corporations accountable for actions or inactions contributing to climate change. Furthermore, they safeguard the rights of vulnerable groups, including women and children, by adjudicating cases related to environmental harm, pollution, and resource management, while providing remedies and compensation where necessary.

The recent launch of a countrywide e-filing system by the Kenyan judiciary underscores its commitment to environmental stewardship. Through its vision to green the judiciary by embracing renewable energy, transitioning to paperless court processes, and implementing sustainable waste management practices, the Judiciary of Kenya sets a commendable example from the top down.

The Kenyan judiciary’s proactive steps towards greening its operations are laudable and represent a tangible commitment to environmental responsibility and should be emulated by other judicial institutions in Africa yet to take actionable steps to reduce their carbon foot print.

With these achievements, we anticipate that the judiciary will persist in its efforts to enhance the expertise of its judicial officers in understanding climate change and sustainability issues.

Climate change and sustainability issues often involve complex scientific and technical concepts. Judicial officers with a solid grasp of these issues can better comprehend the evidence presented in cases related to environmental harm, pollution, and resource management. This understanding enables them to make informed decisions and rulings, ensuring fair and just outcomes.

The greening of Africa’s judiciary should not just a symbolic gesture but a practical step towards ensuring climate justice and sustainable development for generations to come.

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