THE National Executive Council (NEC) has recently approved the Crime Prevention through Revitalized Village Courts System Strategy 2020-2030.

Prime Minister, James Marape, said the transformation and revitalisation of this first level of judiciary system by approving this strategy will allow Village Court officials and Land Mediators to deal with issues in a more formal setting.

Prime Minister Marape said this will give prominence to the Village Courts system as the forefront of the government’s justice service mechanism in all communities of both urban and rural settings of the country.

“It will formally recognize the Village Court officials as equal and active members of the PNG Law & Justice Sector, performing their mandated roles and responsibilities to achieve the sector’s common goals and objectives.

“The Village Courts system has been facilitating the settlement of disputes in communities of both urban and rural settings throughout Papua New Guinea for decades before and since independence, through the use of good customary conflict resolution techniques plus new legislations, and has proven to be very effective,” Prime Minister Marape said.

He said this will also allow empowerment and capacity building of Village Court officials to perform to their utmost potential as judicial officials; boosting their moral and enhancing performance. Hence, realizing the purpose of this Village Courts system in maintaining peace in our communities.

“This strategy also aims to mobilize the village courts and non-state actors to implement crime prevention initiatives within our communities.

“It will further enable good management and safe keeping of court records,” Prime Minister Marape said.

The Prime Minister also said Cabinet has approved an appropriation of K7.2 million annually for the next 10 years for the successful implementation of the Crime Prevention through Revitalised Village Courts System Strategy.