Seychelles’ new Chief Justice sworn in, pledges, vows to keep justice at forefront
The new Chief Justice of Seychelles, Ronny Goviden, said he will relook at some of the fundamental principles in the local judicial system, especially concerning the rule of law.
Govinden was sworn in on Monday at State House and becomes the fourth Seychellois to assume the position. He succeeds Mathilda Twomey, whose mandate ended in September.
One of the fundamental principles “is to maintain the rule of law, which means that nobody is above the law. This is imbued in our constitution and everybody should submit themselves under the law including us judges and lawyers,” he added.
“We need to revisit our concept of justice because often time as judges we forget that justice is about rejecting the bad and adopting the best practice. Even sometimes when we condemn or dismiss a case we do it on technicalities and not truly on justice,” said the new Chief Justice.
Govinden said that given the current political climate whereby one political party has control over both the executive and legislative, the judiciary through its constitutional and judicial review would need to play a greater role when it comes to checks and balances to prevent abuse of power.
Aged 49, Govinden graduated with an LLB (Hons) Degree at the University of Mauritius in 1996 and was successful in the Barristers Final Examination Certificate course conducted by the Mauritius Council of Legal Education in 1998.
He started his professional career in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, when he was called to the bar as an attorney at law in 2000. He then became a State Counsel in the Attorney General’s office and became the Attorney General from 2008 to 2017.
His new position comes four years after he was appointed as a justice of the Seychelles Supreme Court. He sat on both the criminal and the civil divisions of the court.
Justice Govinden has shown a keen interest in law reform and as Attorney General, he spearheaded the process to decriminalise homosexual offences, reduce minimum mandatory penalties and render the electoral laws constitutionally compliant.