Ceremonious event officially reopens the Supreme Court |11 January 2023
The annual ceremonious event to officially launch the calendar year of the Seychelles Supreme Court took place yesterday morning at the St Paul’s Cathedral with a religious service of praise and hymns.
Hailed as one of the most important events of the year for the Courts, the service to kickstart the ceremony was presided over by Bishop French Chang Him, Reverends Danny Elizabeth and Bryan Volcère of the Anglican Diocese and the Bishop Alain Harel of the Catholic Diocese.
Other than justices of the Seychelles’ judiciary system led by Chief Justice Rony Govinden, lawyers and staff of the judiciary, the one-hour ceremony was also attended by the head of state, President Wavel Ramkalawan and First Lady Linda Ramkalawan, Vice-President Ahmed Afif and the Speaker of the National Assembly, Roger Mancienne among other high government officials.
The service accentuated this year’s theme, ‘Justice First’, which is chosen to give the public an insight as to the mind-set and goals projected by the Judicial officers and judicial staff.
In his address, Bishop Harel described the judiciary as the key pillars of every democratic society, preventing the people from taking the law into their own hands, or promoting vengeance.
He stated that the judiciary also has the role and mission to heal and cause reparation for the victims, stating “there will be no peace without justice and no reconciliation without truth”.
“Its final mission is to heal. Any person, having committed even the worst crime, cannot be reduced to their fault. The culprit must be put out of harm's way. Even the most heinous act does not completely erase a person's humanity. Human justice can judge the act committed, but not the person at the core of his being. Only God knows the heart of man. Is this not that what Jesus wants us to discover through this teaching: ‘Do not judge and you will not be judged’,” stated Bishop Harel quoting Luke 6 vs 37 of the bible.
He highlighted the various social issues that plague the world including Seychelles such as domestic violence, social injustice linked to corruption perpetrated by organised groups, attempts on human rights, human trafficking, sexual assault against minors which he said was an alarming issue in Seychelles as shown by a conference on family organised last year. “Taking into consideration this reality, the judiciary has as mission to ensure that ‘justice first’ exists in the society, and ensure laws are enforced. You have as mission, to sanction people or groups who attempt to disrupt the harmonious way of living within the society. The judiciary has as mission to fix relationships between people and groups by giving rulings based on the truth and impartiality. Justice First. This means those responsible of ensuring justice within the society should be impartial and have integrity,” he added.
Bishop Harel said the religious service was aimed at blessing those men and women who were conscious of this huge responsibility bestowed on them in the name of justice.
Yesterday’s religious service also included a special collection by the judiciary which went to an organisation of its choice and this year this will go towards the Cancer Concern Association. The collection was presented to the priests during the service.
The church service was followed by the ceremonial parade through town, led by the National Brass Band, which attracted a large group of onlookers, both locals and foreigners. The parade started from the church, to the clock tower and along the Independence Avenue, till the Bicentenary monument, before returning along the other lane of the Independence Avenue to the clock tower and to the Victoria gymnasium, where there was a motorcade to the Palais de Justice. Upon arrival at the Palais de Justice, the Chief Justice inspected the Guard of Honour before a group photo.
Our selection of photos show some highlights of the ceremonious event.
Photos by Joena Meme