BCM Court Sessions

What goes on during the Bataka Court Model Sessions

Court sessions are held in an open space with full participation of communitymembers;
• The community members are both the prosecutors and Judges at the sametime;
• The sessions are conducted at an agreed central venue;
• The sessions are chaired according to who the case was reported to;
• Each member of the panel of elders chairs his or her session if the case originated from him/her;
• Both the aggrieved and defendant parties are given equal amount of time to make their case and thereafter the community members are given an
opportunity to cross examine them
• During the session the panel of select someone to keep law and order/or decorum
• The parties are allowed to present their witnesses
• Judgment is done there and then by the Bataka (people)
• The proceedings are in the native local language
• As a rule of the record the Court’s procedure may include a written phase and an oral phase
• Cases that are personal or confidential in nature are handled in closed
session by selected members of the panel
• Inquisitional approach instead of cross examination probing and seeking
more clarifications from parties

Actively participating in hearing submissions from the conflicting parties
• Cross examining the parties and witnesses
• Inspecting areas of contention if it is boundary issues
• Mediating between and counseling the conflicting parties
• Contributing ideas in decision making relating to the next course of action
• Suggesting and agreeing on penalties/sanctions
• Monitoring compliancy of the culprit towards completing the penalties
• The Bataka courts only try civil cases
• They also provide vital information about the capital offences
• They have the mandate to prevent crime by doing adequate reporting and
ad hoc interventions i.e. meeting the affected and ensuring that mediation
takes place
• Referral of cases outside their jurisdiction

Evidence should be backed by witnesses
• Witnesses must be present at the court session
• Testimonies are given in local languages
• In case of need for interpreter the members will select amongst themselves
the one who can ably translate or interpreter to the rest of the members
• All parties must be given fair hearing and the purposes of fairness and the

  • Public Apology
  • Community Service 9Such as working on a community facility i.e clearing a road or a water source, working on a school or repairing a community swamp.)
  • Compensation for victims of wrongs – Agreement for compensation can be used in courts of law
  • Ekita Ky’ abataka (a citizen’s Brew) gourd for elders
  • Restitution
  • Simple damages (Refund)
  • Recovery of Debt property
  • Consent Agreement
  • After the ruling or a decision has been reached it can be reduced to an MOU between the parties and the panel members sign as witnesses. The MoU can be enforced in courts of law and the terms therein are binding on both parties.
  • The MoU shall be drafted in the language they must have decided to go with and incase it is to be used in court, court shall consider a translation
  • Any other remedies generally acceptable remedies
  • Enforcement is done through social sanctions
  • The majority of the community members are agents of enforcement
  • MoUs shall be signed and binds the parties and can be enforced but the courts of law- Bataka Courts will always file the MoUs and Consent with the courts of law
  • Every one has a right of recourse to the formal courts in cases where they are dissatisfied with the decision of Bataka Courts
  • Cases which are ebeuond the jurisdiction of the Bataka Courts are referred to the relevant offices within the formal system
  • Some cases which are within the jurisdiction of the the Bataka are refered back to Bataka.

There is natural led coordination process with the rest of the stakeholders in justice

service delivery