Criminal Justice System in Two Countries Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Criminal Justice System

Ever since gaining independence status, both Mozambique and Zimbabwe have come under the scanner for violation of human rights incidences and extrajudicial excesses. The under trials, often arrested without formal sanctions have been continually processed through undemocratic norms and subjected to undue treatment when in confinement and under the control of policing authorities in spite of the fact that statutory provisions in the constitution provide assured guarantee for appeal and fundamental rights protecting the citizens in both the nations. The Dependant Variables hence comprise of use of force and even firearms against those in detention and secondly custodial executions and deaths.

Defining extrajudicial executions and deaths in detentions:

Extra judicial killing is the act of execution or subjecting an under trial to violent acts that may result in death of the person. Such uses of force or acts of violence precede, supersede or bypass any due judicial process and do not have legal or constitutional sanction. Such treatment is illegal in nature and is often committed by the very custodians of law who are supposed to uphold the principles of due judicial review and constitutional rights.

Defining excessive use of firearms and force: Policing authorities and custodians of law engage in excesses against under trials, those in detention or those convicted violating the normative human rights sanctions under the generally understood 'excessive use of firearms and force'.

Introducing the puzzle and the case studies

The puzzle that is then being attempted is: Systems that hold the police and judicial functionaries accountable for transgressions are not providing desired results. Proper pursuance of human rights violations against those in the judiciary and executive is conspicuous by its absence (Michel, 2014: Barkow, 2008). The main precincts under which the puzzle is hence sought to be solved are: a) victims' rights, b) legal system, c) autonomous status and hence independence of the judiciary d) location (locus standi?) of the public prosecutor's office in the legal structure and procedural format of criminal cases.

The key argument in the paper

The norms of codes of conduct and framework for judicial proceedings in both Zimbabwe and Mozambique fall short of the acceptable standards set forth for human rights by various International fora. According to Seleti (2000), the under trials and accused have limited access to judicial and executive appeal. On the other hand, even the victims are denied justice owing to glaring gaps in the judicial structure and the elaborate processing needed to seek justice that also reeks of corruption.

Roadmap of the paper

There are four sections into which this paper is divided. In the first section the reader is explained the importance of topic under scrutiny. The dependent variables are defined in this section. The aim is to state the puzzle and seek more clarity about it by visiting a few case studies. That enables the formation of arguments that follow. Section 2 reviews relevant literature to select the ones that may help the line of arguments. The final outcome of the work arrived at is based in the light of the theories visited in the literature review. The directions of the logical answers to those posed to by the quiz are found in the methods that the literature accessed contains.

In Section 3, the paper exhibits the evidence in support of the outcome. The reader will find the logical interpretation in favor of the outcome proposed. The theory that has helped in processing the evidence and the directions followed are explained in this section. This theory is the Independent Variable and is best suited to analyze the quiz. Section 4 sums up the paper by restating the quiz and summarizing the process attempted to arrive at the outcome.

Section B: Literature review

Human rights prosecution and extrajudicial executions:

The infrastructural amenities for the detainees in Mozambique are minimalistic and are almost uninhabitable. There is no separate provision for housing the sick inmates. The cells lack sanitation facilities, ventilation, lighting and temperature control. The lack of access to adequate potable water probably explains it more succinctly.

Emergency and even normal Health-care access, if at all found is in dire need of attention. Medicines and equipments are inadequate. There is an absence of provision for carrying the sick to hospitals if need arises. The inmates are forced to fend for themselves when a medical need arises. The inmates, who can, have to buy their own medicines (Langer, 2011). The buildings are in a dilapidated condition as they were built during colonial occupation. That needs immediate attention as both the inmates as well as prison staff are at grave risk under the precarious roofs and walls. According to Seleti (2000), in certain prisons, like the one at Cadeia da Machava, repair and refurbishment is underway, however, the under trials as well as proclaimed convicts are both housed under the same roofs, often sharing same cells, too.

According to the Human Rights Department of the U.S., the prison conditions in Zimbabwe are very difficult on the inmates. The overcrowding at the older urban jails only serves to compound the problems. The recently reorganized ZPCS (Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services) has undertaken steps recently (by 2013) to address the issues stated. The newly adopted constitution has accommodated measures of rehabilitation as well as making provisions for penal sentences. The ZPCS has been renamed as Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS). The conditions at the prison remain harsh and could even be causal to death of inmates. The detainees awaiting trials have to bear long waiting periods. The statistics paint a grim picture. 72 facilities (46 main prisons and 26 sub-prisons) in the country houses seventeen thousand inmates, which also include five hundred women and about two hundred juvenile inmates, under trials and convicts). The inhabitable living conditions owing to lack of sanitation and inadequate provisions for food caused in major part by overcrowding of the facilities have caused life threatening infections- HIV and Tuberculosis are not uncommon amongst many other afflictions amongst the inmates (Freedom House, 2014).

Overcrowding because of lack of infrastructure is a persisting problem, causing other difficulties in the prisons of Zimbabwe. The causes attributed are those of lengthy trials and waiting periods as well as inappropriate infrastructure according to certain NGO's. The prison staff uses violence against the inmates as a matter of routine (U.S. Department of State, 2014).

Legal system and extrajudicial executions:

In Mozambique, the provisions in the legal and constitutional statements provide freedom and prohibit arrest without proper sanctions; however, transgressions take place routinely. In fact, even the main opposition political party, the DMM (Democratic Movement Mozambique) is not spared of such arbitrary arrests and detentions. It has complained of arrests of its members for acts as simple as that of displaying its flag.

In a specific incident, local prosecution initiated the arrest of local MDM follower, Samuel Jaime Sabonete, for hanging the party's flag in the local headquarter office, in province of Manica ( District: Catandica). It took the intervention of national leadership to secure his release.

In another incident, the local populace seized control of Forca Guarda-Fronteira and forced the Government activate its machinery to initiate investigations against and bring to book the corrupt and abusers of power. There were also several incidences of the security, executive and judicial personnel overstepped their limits, authority, and orders and abused power assigned to them (Michel, 2014). In order to evade questions on impropriety, the police removed directions to the police stations and made it difficult to gain information of its personnel who were being investigated or against whom charges had been leveled (Barkow, 2008).

Zimbabwe law does not have a definition for torture inflicted on the citizenry, under trials or the prison inmates as of 2012, according to the report submitted by Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The police, subject the arrested to torture routinely during interrogation. The security personnel use physical excesses to torture political opponents and activists. Even the human right activists are treated with contempt and are at the receiving end during police excesses.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture was not invited even by 2013, in spite of the fact that the government had accepted to ratify and implement the UN Convention Against torture. The ban on the entry to Zimbabwe was in place since 2009. The Human Rights Defenders have continually alleged torture on them by the police in the interrogation proceedings (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2014). In a report 'Freedom in the World' as recent as in 2014, continuing allegations of excesses have been leveled against the security forces who subject the people to arbitrary arrests, make illegal searches and trample on basic rights of the countrymen with complete disregard to constitutional and legal strictures. The government chooses to take no visible stand least of all, action against such impunity (Freedom House, 2014).

Judicial independence and extrajudicial executions:

The selection of the judiciary in Zimbabwe is not an impartial and transparent process. The qualifications and requirements to be a part of the judicial system…

Sources Used in Document:


Ackerman, S.R. (n.d.). Independence, political interference and corruption. Retrieved from:,d.d24

BAR Human Rights Committee of England and Wales. (2010). A Place in the Sun Zimbabwe: A Report on the state of the rule of law in Zimbabwe after the Global Political Agreement of September. Retrieved from:

Barkow, R.E. (2008). Institutional Design and the Policing of Prosecutors: Lessons from Administrative Law. Stanford Law Review 61, 869-922.

Barzelay, M. (1992). Breaking through bureaucracy. Berkeley: Univ. Of CA Press.

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