The new courthouse was funded in partnership with the Department of Justice & Attorney General at a cost of K1.2 million, and will include a court room, Family and Sexual Violence Unit and office for village court magistrates.
Kenny Iro is a longtime village court magistrate in Wasu. He was recently elevated to be the law and order chairman for Tewai-Siassi district; looking after 120 other village court magistrates.
He says village court magistrates have faced a lot of challenges over the past decades and had received no support from the district and provincial governments.
“Land issues, homebrew and other social issues have been common in the district that law and order officers have been finding it difficult to address with no support,” says Iro.
For many years, successive governments have failed to address law and order issues in the district, leaving village court magistrates and reserve police officers to struggle to maintain law and order.
The court officers have faced difficulties with logistics, record keeping of offences and reporting.
“The proposal, research and submission documents for the new courthouse was put forward since 2011. However, it was rejected by the DDA in 2014,” explains Iro.
Village court officials in the district also attended a weeklong training in June 2020 on the Family & Sexual Violence Act and then on database and reporting.
“We have finally realised that the government is supporting us when we saw the construction of a courthouse and police station at Wasu. This will greatly minimise the risks and costs of traveling,” says the village court chairman.
Tewai-Siassi MP, Dr. Kobby Bomareo, says the construction of the new infrastructure brings a lot of confidence to the law and justice sector in the district. Wasu will become the centre of court for Finschhafen, Siassi and Kabwum (Fisika) region.
“We had the senior provincial magistrate and court officials who visited the district and conducted refresher trainings for our local magistrates. Regular visits by the provincial court officials will empower our local magistrates to do better,” says Dr. Bomareo.
(The Wasu courthouse built at a cost of K1.2 million through partnership with DJAG)