Seychelles

Seychelles: new Chief Justice announced, sworn in

Supreme Court judge, Ronny Govinden, has been appointed as Chief Justice of Seychelles and was sworn in on November 9.

The new Chief Justice of Seychelles, Justice Ronny Govinden, has been a judge since 2017 and sits in both the criminal and civil divisions of the Supreme Court. His path to office began when he was called to the bar of Seychelles in 2000. Later he moved to the office of the Attorney General and from 2008 to 2017 he served as his country’s Attorney General.

Don't view sexual offences only through traditional male perspective - Chief Justice

In one of her last decisions before ending a five-year contract as head of the judiciary in Seychelles, Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey came out strongly on the need for the country’s penal code to be modernised in relation to its definition of consent in sexual offences. The CJ said that at present it only defined ‘absence of consent’, and that it was time ‘to look beyond the traditional male perspective as the prism through which sexual offences must necessarily be viewed.’

Read judgment

In one of her final decisions as head of the judiciary in Seychelles, Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey has shown herself a strong supporter of the rights of women in cases that concern sexual assault, urging that changes be made in the penal code and that ‘myths’ about the ‘normal reaction’ of someone who had been raped be consigned ‘to the dustbin of the history of male perspective myths about rape victims.’

Will Acting Chief Justice swear in winner of Seychelles presidential election?

The five-year contract of Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey came to an end earlier this month, and a new judicial leader for Seychelles must now be appointed. That is the responsibility of the Constitutional Appointments Authority of Seychelles. In the meantime, however, an Acting Chief Justice has been named: Justice Melchior Vidot.

Judges who have attended training workshops offered by the Judicial Institute for Africa (Jifa) in Cape Town may look at this photograph and see something familiar about the new Acting Chief Justice of Seychelles, Melchior Vidot.

That wouldn’t be surprising since he has participated in Jifa training on a couple of occasions during which he would have met judges from a number of other jurisdictions.

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