OUTLOOK — By Ali Al Matani — Perhaps the incident of the foreign prisoners’ escape form A’Seeb Court is a stone that has stirred the stagnant waters of security measures observed inside the courts in the Sultanate. Development of the judicial system’s security is one of the tools that aid in the enforcement of judicial rulings and help in maintaining the security and order inside courts and all other judicial facilities. The security aspect has to be addressed sufficiently to meet the requirements of the justice department and maintain its prestige. For many reasons — maybe the most important being the non-occurrence of incidents that require tight security — the security practised inside courts were not fully observed in the recent past years. But in the coming years, with the positive and negative outcome of these variables, and the incident of prisoners' escape which has made a strong impression in the people’s mind, enhancing of the role and concept of the judicial police with an accurate and specified mechanism that is suited for the justice system will be a must to ensure the safety and security of courts, workers and litigants themselves.
There is no doubt that the incident of foreign prisoners’ escape from the court has raised many questions regarding how they were able to do this in spite of police vigilance. Of course, this incident raises many questions about the security precautions and measures taken in situations like the transportation of prisoners from one place to another. From the prisoners point of view escaping was the best chance for them to avoid hard punishment because of the major crimes committed by them. The ordinary people would understand that in a situation like this dangerous criminals expecting harsh punishment would no doubt try to escape, whatever the results would be, as this would be the best way to save their skin — but the people who had taken the responsibility of securing the court sessions had not noticed this fact.
Unfortunately, thinking of solutions and taking precautions come after the storms strikes and incidents happen. Not only that, but also after having many negative experiences and many faults. All these aspects are supposed to be in the minds and hearts of the concerned officials responsible. All these parties and authorities have to think about the future and devise proper mechanisms to ensure that proper securities measures are in place and not mere knee-jerk reactions and responses. This attitude was clear in different governorates in the Sultanate when some incidents of riots erupted in the past years. The concerned parties in these governorates tried to tackle the problem by establishing special security units designed to control the riots. These aspects of social security could have been put in place earlier by competent parties and a set of precautions could have been prepared and executed.
The thought of establishing a competent judicial police force, as seen in many countries all over the world, came late due to lack of reactions and responses as to how to act in the light of such incidents, not as an attempt to fill the shortcomings of some security aspects. A competent judicial police force has become a necessity in light of the opening up of the modern society and its development, the economic and social changes that are sweeping our society and the high crime rates. Establishing a judicial police force contributes effectively to the efficiency of judicial procedures. It enhances and supports the maintaining of justice and enforcement of laws, court rulings, securing judicial establishments and facilities and the inspection of court premises and complexes to avoid smuggling of arms into the courts. Besides, this judicial force has to play a significant role in investigating crime and collecting evidences which can ensure justice.
The security system in courts and judicial corps needs to be reconsidered in a way that contributes to achieving work progress with no hurdles or incidents, establishing security and order which support work comfortably in the judicial system, tightening security measures in all court premises to enhance the judicial prestige, and highlighting the supreme position of justice.
Naturally, our judiciary has reached an advanced stage after the developments that have taken place since the enactment of the Judiciary Law. Security measures in most of courts in the Sultanate are sophisticated in terms of providing protection and guarding of entrances, exits, cells and halls. But that doesn't mean that we should not consider the upgradation of security measures again to match the new situations that can occur. Also, the buildings of courts in the different wilayats need to be considered for the same reasons.
We are hoping that our work is not just a knee-jerk reaction or response. We are hoping that proper planning would be the feature of the times at work in all fields and studies that provide us with inroads into the future.