Public Prosecution in Mozambique Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Criminal Justice

Human Rights Prosecution In Mozambique

Mozambique has a long history of human rights violation especially in subjecting suspects to undue prosecution processes. Within the renewed forms of conflict, the behaviour of Mozambican public prosecution office consistently violates constitutional protections of Mozambique's fundamental freedoms and rights. The elements in consideration include extrajudicial executions and deaths in detention of suspected criminals and excessive use of firearms and force. The current internal accountability systems for the police and prosecution do not form valid outcomes. There is minimal follow-up on cases regarding human rights violations by the prosecution (Michel, 2014: Barkow, 2008). The judicial disciplinary procedures and codes of conduct are not sufficient, as they do not adhere to international standards on human rights. There is limited access to a fair trial to suspects and plenty of injustices to victims and immediate families compounded by often corrupt and weak justice system and procedural obstacles (Seleti, 2000).

Literature Review

The prosecution is not keen in separating the healthy and sick pre-trial detainees as they share the same cells. Inadequate ventilation, sanitation, temperature, lighting control, lack of necessary emergency medical care are critical concerns on the detention policies and practices in the country. There are complaints about limited access to potable water. Few detention centres have adequate health-care facilities and the ability to ferry prisoners into outside facilities. Prisons with health-care facilities lacked essential medicines and supplies. This leaves most detainees without medicine unless they can afford their purchase privately (Langer, 2011). Most prisons were built under the colonial regime, and this left many in advanced dilapidation states that posed plenty of risks to prisoners and staff. The refurbishment of several prisons, like the Cadeia da Machava prison, has started, and authorities are famous for holding pre-trial detainees among convicted prisoners (Seleti, 2000).

While the law and constitution of Mozambique prohibit arbitrary detention and arrest, both practices are common features. The Democratic Movement Mozambique (Opposition party) has in most occasions complained of the adverse arrests of its members for the display of the party's flag. Back in March, the local prosecution advocated in the arrest of Samuel Jaime Sabonete, an MDM member in Catandica district (Manica Province) as he hangs the MDM party flag in the local headquarters. Police went on to detain him up to the intervention of MDM national leadership few days later. Civilian authorities maintained ultimate control on the Forca Guarda-Fronteira while the government induced mechanisms of investigating and punishing corruption and abuse. There were various reports regarding impunity that involve security forces and circumstances where security forces and prosecution exceeded their orders or acted without orders (Michel, 2014). Police, on one hand, frequently removed identification from checkpoints in the dark while refused to indicate their identity and police precincts. It became difficult to acquire information regarding security personnel reports being charged or subsequently held to account (Barkow, 2008).

Although the country's law and constitution fosters independence in the judiciary, many civil society groups and the executive branch influence the inadequately trained and understaffed judiciary within lower tiers. Leaders from the FRELIMO Party have also participated in this nuisance. The country's legal system continues to face the lack of transparency and lack of compliance with promotion and protection principles of human rights. The national parliament approved New Police Law to control accountability, discipline, and internal regulation and organization (Michel, 2014). The move was a replacement for the unconstitutional regulations declared by Constitutional Council. Perhaps, they permitted police to make arrests and detain suspects without judicial authorization. The civil society organizations worked towards preparing some case files (criminal) as it was previously weak based on inadequacies in corruption and training. In most cases, judges dismissed critical cases due to lack of reasonable evidence (Seleti, 2000).

Regular courts in the country presume all accused persons innocent as the law states that such individuals have a right to appeal and legal counsel. However, the authorities do not necessarily adhere to these rights. The defendants have a right to prompt information of the details of charges against them and the probable routes for appeal. Defendants have the right to share information with attorneys of their choosing (Michel, 2014). The law provides for the allocation of public defenders for accused persons. The assistance is often not availed due to the absence of sufficient personnel within…

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