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In his speech on the solemn return of the Court of Appeal of Antananarivo on 4 October 1967, the first President Henri Raharijaona began by drawing attention to the efforts made by the Ministry of Justice to ensure the functioning of the courts. He goes on to discuss the problems they face.
“If the law is capable of bringing justice closer to the litigant, its application is in fact encountered by practical obstacles which it would be necessary to undertake to make disappear. “
Henri Raharijaona points out two obstacles in particular, the first being the lack of efficiency in the material organization of the courts.
“Justice,” he said, “must cease to be an austere, hermetic, severe, sometimes harsh administration, with doors desperately closed, although the law orders the opening of the office. This, to become a vast enterprise adapted to the needs of a population more and more informed of its rights. “
The first effort, he said, was to improve the working environment and the acceptance of litigants.
The second obstacle to which Henri Raharijaona is subject is the complexity of the legal language. he
Specifies, however, that it is not advisable ‘to recklessly recommend the use of a simplified language which would have the serious drawback of depriving the legal language of its precision and of emptying expressions of their content exact “. He said that justice did not hold a monopoly on the hermetic language, pointing out “its perplexity” in front of “certain expressions emanating from the reports of forensic expertise or the investigations of experts in maritime law”.
Nevertheless, he believes that words such as “fouling, cancellation, iterative, pareatis, curator to the belly, to give more strongly … could without great damage disappear from our language. While the auxiliaries of justice might cease to declare to the illiterate tenants of the working-class districts that they are assigned to condemn themselves! Or that, in the absence of emptying the premises which it holds to the rent of the applicant, one will expel it, throw its furniture on the tile and make clear place “.
Continuing his criticism, Henri Raharijaona suggests that the decisions be drafted more simply. Thus, he said, it would avoid litigants to present themselves to the magistrates, with a notice of judicial notice or a copy of a decision, “to ask timidly, as if they felt responsible for their ignorance, They had won or lost, or what it meant to the general role “.
Another suggestion made by the first president of the Court of Appeal was to prepare rationally for the time when justice would be rendered in the national language. This presupposes, first of all, a modification of the texts – “which prohibits magistrates and clerks from acting as interpreters” – and the fixing of legal terms “in order to avoid erroneous interpretations or philological or grammatical challenges” .
However, facilitating citizens’ access to the courtroom is not sufficient to bring justice closer to the litigant. For Henri Raharijaona, the expression also means that the judge must strive always to better know the individual as a man, whether it is “the one who demands the protection of his patrimony or the one who must answer Of its facts “.
The law also offers multiple resources to the judge. “In criminal matters, it allows him, recommends to him, and sometimes orders him to submit the person referred for examination to the doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist. “
In addition, “it obliges the investigating judge to discover all that can contribute to the manifestation of the truth and, in the first place, all that allows a better knowledge of the accused, his antecedents, his environment , His character and his personality “. Thus the judge will contribute to rendering justice “less uncertain and therefore more human”.
In civil matters, “this humanism” must be translated by the constant search for truth. Especially since the latter is difficult to grasp, “through doubtful testimony, certificates of complacency, conclusions which all claim to restore the facts in their accuracy”. The first President of the Court of Appeal finally warned magistrates against a tendency “encouraged, moreover, by the Code of Civil Procedure” to rely on the documents in the file to decide a dispute, Would be a divorce.