Reports & Articles

Recommendations for reform of the National Prosecuting Authority
Author: Lukas
Published: Aug 21, 2020

Following from previous work, this report looks at seven areas of reform for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). By its own admission the NPA is facing a long list of challenges, internally and externally. This report proposes seven areas of reform that can over the short to medium term, if followed, make a substantial and constructive contribution to rebuilding trust in the NPA. The seven areas are: • the appointment of the NDPP and other senior officials • the dismissal of the NDPP • the prosecution policy directives • referrals from other agencies • informal mediation • structuring the clusters of the NPA • general oversight. An unavoidable conclusion is that law reform is needed since the current legal framework enabled the hollowing-out and misuse of the NPA.

Powers of arrest curtailed by Constitutional Council of Mozambique – the impact of the 2013 decision
Author: Jean
Published: Sep 02, 2019

This report assesses the consequences of the 2013-decision of the Constitutional Council of Mozambique, which limits to judges the authority to order pre-trial detention for cases falling outside of flagrante delito (where the accused is caught in the act of committing the offence). Although the decision represents a progressive change in the jurisprudence of Mozambique’s highest court, judges, prosecutors and police encounter operational challenges in implementing the decision, in a country with a population of more than 28 million people. In 2017, there were 344 judges, 18 of which were Judges of Criminal Instruction, responsible for issuing warrants of arrest for cases outside of flagrante delito. Concerns were raised in relation to lack of financial and logistical resources for prosecutors, which are mandated to monitor the legality of police detention. As the criminal justice system is under-resourced, police officials have to wait for a judge to issue a warrant of arrest for cases falling outside of flagrante delito. Despite the decision, unlawful arrests continue to happen although there is anecdotal evidence that these have decreased. The 2013-decision has clarified who has the power to authorise arrest in these cases, but the situation is far from being resolved.

Liberty not the only loss - The Socio-Economic Impact of Remand Detention in the Western Cape
Author: Jean
Published: May 28, 2019

The evidence in this study suggests that the criminal procedural system metes out a disproportionate ‘punishment’ in the form of infringement of the socio-economic rights of the families of detainees, regardless of guilt or innocence.The study recommends a number of interventions to seek to ensure that remand detention is used only for short durations or when absolutely necessary, thereby minimising socio-economic harms.

Discussion Document: NPA Accountability, trust and public interest
Author: Jean
Published: Feb 19, 2019

This discussion document deals with three key concepts associated with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and its relation to the public, namely accountability, public interest and trust. It is suggested that for the NPA to be regarded as a legitimate institution it needs to enjoy trust and in order to enjoy such trust, it needs to be seen and perceived to act in the public interest in an accountable manner.

Solitary Confinement - A review of the legal framework and practice in five African countries
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 23, 2018

This report investigates the legal frameworks of five African countries (Kenya Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia) as they relate to the use of solitary confinement. The effect of long periods of solitary confinement have been shown to have severe impacts on a prisoner’s mental and physical well-being. The UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has noted that the use of prolonged solitary confinement may amount to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in breach of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In December 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Nelson Mandela Rules (‘2015 UNSMR’). The 2015 UNSMR addresses a key shortcoming in the protection and treatment of people in places of detention, as it, for the first time, sets down norms and limitations on the use of solitary confinement. The report concludes that there are major areas of non-compliance in each of the countries and this requires urgent attention

Journal article: Modest beginnings, high hopes: The Western Cape Police Ombudsman
Author: Lukas
Published: Jun 01, 2018

In 2013 the Western Cape legislature passed the Western Cape Community Safety Act (WCCSA) to improve monitoring of and oversight over the police. One creation of the WCCSA is the Western Cape Police Ombudsman, which became operational in 2015. This article reviews its history and context, as well as results from its first year. The Police Ombudsman, the only one in the country, must be seen as one of the results of efforts by the opposition-held province to carve out more powers in the narrowly defined constitutional space, and in so doing to exercise more effective oversight and monitoring of police performance, and improve police–community relations. The Ombudsman must also be seen against the backdrop of poor police–community relations in Cape Town and the subsequent establishment of a provincial commission of inquiry into the problem, a move that was opposed by the national government, contesting its constitutionality. Results from the Ombudsman’s first 18 months in operation are modest, but there are promising signs. Nonetheless, the office is small and it did not do itself any favours by not complying with its legally mandated reporting requirements.

Developments in Addressing Torture in Mozambique
Author: Jean
Published: Mar 22, 2018

This article assesses developments in the prevention and eradication of torture in Mozambique. Despite several positive efforts and advances made, acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment are still perpetrated by members of the security forces, especially police officials, often with impunity. The culture of impunity for such serious offences is a direct threat to human rights and the rule of law in the country and seriously compromises the country’s public integrity. Two issues are of deep concern and require more efforts by the state, namely: a) addressing impunity and ensuring prompt and impartial investigations of all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, and b) protecting victims and providing the necessary restitution, rehabilitation and compensation. In conclusion we provide recommendations on how to improve the situation. These are: engaging in outreach and advocacy; improving and strengthening the national legislative framework; strengthening institutions; developing mechanisms for the reporting of torture: monitoring and evaluating existing reporting mechanisms; improving conditions of detention; establishing effective oversight over places of detention, and by maintaining records to improve transparency and availability of information.

Journal article: The SocioEconomic Impact of Pretrial Detention in Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 04, 2017

The presumed link between the rule of law and development suggests that an operational justice system is key to development. The research sought to understand and quantify how the decision to detain an accused person affects his or her socio-economic situation. Data was collected in Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia. The findings suggest that the use of the coercive power of the state exercised through the deprivation of an individual’s liberty has serious socio-economic consequences. While detention pending trial is justifiable sometimes, we argue that it is over-used, frequently resulting in excessively long detention. The deprivation of liberty interferes with the ability of individuals to be agents of their own development, infringing on socio-economic rights of individuals and their dependents. States can justify such infringements only if their coercive power is used within the ambit of democratic and rights-respecting laws complying with human rights standards.

An Assessment of the National Prosecuting Authority - A Controversial Past and Recommendations for the Future
Author: Lukas
Published: May 22, 2017

Twenty years into democracy, the independence of the NPA, in particular the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), has become a highly contested and politicised issue. The Constitutional Court has noted that ‘[t]he constitutional obligation upon the State to prosecute those offences which threaten or infringe the rights of citizens is of central importance in our constitutional framework’. This report focuses on the substantive problems and dilemmas facing the NPA. In the discussion that follows the major challenges that the NPA is facing and have faced are set out. The report unpacks these and presents possible solutions and recommendations.