Documentation Centre - Publications
Issues and Reports
Issues & Reports No 7/8.
CRIME IN SOUTHERN AFRICA:
TOWARDS THE YEAR 2000
SUMMARY PROCEEDINGS OF A REGIONAL TRAINING WORKSHOP
UNICRI, the Department of Sociology, University of Botswana, UNAFRI and the Commonwealth Secretariat
David MacDonald & Louis Molamu
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Session 1: CRIME IN PERSPECTIVE 1
|·||Corruption in Botswana |
|·||SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION |
Session 2: CRIME IN PERSPECTIVE 2
|·||KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS |
|·||Violence Against Women - Is it a Crime? |
|·||SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION |
Session 3: CRIMINAL JUSTICE, CRIME PREVENTION AND THE TREATMENT OF OFFENDERS
|·||KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS |
|·||Criminal Justice, Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders |
|·||SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION |
Session 4: RESEARCH AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS ON CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
|·||Sources and Strategies for the Development of Crime and Criminal Justice Information with Particular Reference to Southern Africa |
|·||Research and Information on Crime in Botswana: Beyond Official Police Statistics |
|·||SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION |
Session 5: IMPLICATIONS FOR AFRICA OF THE NINTH UNITED NATIONS CONGRESS ON THE PREVENTION OF CRIME AND THE TREATMENT OF OFFENDERS
|·||An Overview of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme |
|·||Implications for Africa of the Ninth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders |
|·||SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION |
SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Crime in Southern Africa has increased substantially over the past few decades and has rapidly become a major social problem posing a distinct
barrier to the development process. It is recognised that as countries in the region continue to make the transition from "traditional" to "modern" and to experience profound
socio-economic, political and cultural changes, there will be concomitant changes in the levels, types and patterns of criminal behaviour as well as in criminal justice responses.
lack of research into crime and societal responses to crime within the Southern African region highlighted the need for a workshop aimed at determining areas where research is needed and identifying issues
and problems related to social policy within the context of national development.
In early 1994 the Department of Sociology at the University of Botswana approached the United Nations
Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) in Rome to collaborate in the organisation of a workshop with the theme "Crime in Botswana: Towards the Year 2000". UNICRI, in
conjunction with the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders
(UNAFRI), suggested that the workshop should be regional rather than national in character and
that it should be retitled "Crime in Southern Africa: Towards the Year 2000". Following negotiations between all parties, support for the workshop was provided by the Commonwealth Secretariat with
the assistance of UNICRI. The workshop was held in
Gaborone, Botswana, from 19-21 June 1996 and involved the participation of representatives of seven Southern African countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi,
South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The specific objectives of the workshop were:
|·||To analyse and consider current trends in crime and criminal justice in Southern Africa, with particular reference to Botswana. |
|·||To identify the social, cultural, economic and political consequences of these trends over the next decade. |
|·||To highlight implications for current national development plans and social policies on the prevention of crime and the treatment of offenders. |
|·||To identify gaps in current research and available information on crime and criminal justice. |
|·||To identify the main issues and concerns for the region in the light of the findings of the Ninth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. |
|·||To collate a workshop report that can be used in policy formation. |
There were four main themes of the workshop:
|·||Crime in Perspective which provided an overview of changing patterns and types of crime in Southern Africa with specific reference to a number of areas of current concern including: organised crime;
corruption; drug trafficking; violence against women; urban crime; youth and street children. |
|·||The Criminal Justice System which examined the present and future viability of systems of criminal justice within the region and considered social processes of policing; adjudication including
customary courts and other forms of diversion and alternative dispute settlements; punishments including capital and corporal punishment, imprisonment, fines, compensation and restitution and any
other traditional or "new" forms of non-custodial sanctions. |
|·||Research and Information on Crime and Criminal Justice which looked at the development and policy uses of current research and available information within a context of national development. It
focused primarily on crime prevention and the treatment of offenders and sought to identify gaps in research and information on crime and criminal justice. |
|·||Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders which addressed the issues relating to crime prevention and the treatment of offenders from a community based level to a consideration of regional,
and indeed global, concerns as expressed by the Ninth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. It focused on the implications and significance of the
Congress's findings for Africa and their relevance for national development. |
The workshop was structured around five sessions (see the Workshop
Programme), each lasting half a day. The format of each session was similar. Two keynote speakers gave short plenary
presentations on one of the workshop themes, one more focused on the regional perspective and one from the Botswana perspective*. Each speaker also posed one or two questions that were then used as the focus
for discussion in three small discussion groups. The small groups also had a practical training component as participants discussed issues and shared ideas and practical experiences, and each had a
rapporteur who reported the findings of their group back to the plenary session for discussion. The flexible and organic nature of this workshop process was reflected by small groups occasionally
re-interpreting keynote speaker's questions and setting their own agendas.
The co-organisers feel that working closely together in the organisation of an international event is in itself an
important means for promoting international co-operation. It is hoped that the above partnerships will become even more frequent and fruitful as we move towards the year 2000.
Department of Sociology
University of Botswana
P.H.K. Kedikilwe, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Government of Botswana
Globally, the increasing problem of crime has moved to the top of the political agenda.
Within Southern Africa the rate of burglaries and violent crimes like murder, rape and child abuse has increased and levels of economic crime and corruption have almost become endemic.
also evidence of serious cross-border organised crime, including armed robberies, car hijacking, and drug trafficking. This type of criminal activity harms perceptions of the region's future and its ability
to attract investment, and can only be tackled by
co-ordinated regional efforts and joint action at the local level.
While political stability and democratisation within the region gathers
pace, socio-economic progress remains characterised by stagnation, high rates of unemployment and deepening impoverishment. It is often within a context of extreme misery, deprivation and despair that the
most heinous crimes are committed.
Increasingly, the public demands stronger measures to counteract crime and more effective responses are urgently needed. Recent legislation has been
introduced in Botswana to deal with issues such as corruption and economic crime, car theft, misuse of drugs, extradition procedures and seizure of proceeds of serious crime. It is only through increased
co-operation between countries in the region which are willing to help, support and resource each other that we will be able to implement effective policies and strategies to prevent and control crime.
Welcome addresses were also delivered by Mr. Herman
Woltring, Director, UNICRI; Mr. Richard Nzerem, Assistant Director, Commonwealth Secretariat; Prof. Eric P.
Kibuka, Deputy Director, UNAFRI;
and Mr. Louis Molamu, Head, Department of Sociology, University of Botswana.
Session 1: CRIME IN PERSPECTIVE 1
Crime and Social Change in Southern Africa, with
Special Reference to Organised Crime, Drug Trafficking and Corruption
Nsereko, Department of Law, University of Botswana
The nature and incidence of crime depends largely on
socio-economic conditions and changes within a society. Within Southern Africa change has been more revolutionary than evolutionary and has resulted in a population transformation from a largely rural to an
increasingly urban one.
Generally, the incidence of crime is higher in densely populated urban areas, particularly slum areas, than it is in rural communities. Close family ties in rural
communities which help to control social and moral behaviour are absent in urban areas characterised by unemployment, lack of housing and social amenities and the sheer need to survive. Another facet of
rural-urban migration within the region is the high percentage of young people among the migrants. It is these young unemployed, and improperly housed, young people who are most likely to end up joining
criminal gangs, becoming street children, or using illegal drugs.
Drug trafficking is only one type of criminal activity transcending national boundaries which is consummated through
organisations, syndicates and networks. The end result is an increasing rate of drug abuse, particularly among young people, with its concomitant harmful effects on the individual, the family and the
Along with most countries in the world, Botswana has passed strict laws regulating the production, sale, import, export, possession and use of habit-forming or narcotic drugs.
Dealing in any habit-forming drugs, other than cannabis, is punishable by imprisonment without the option of a fine or a suspended sentence, for a term of not less than 10 or more than 15 years. The term of
imprisonment for dealing in cannabis is not less than 5 years and no more than 10 in recognition of the socio-historical reality that cannabis was traditionally and widely grown in Botswana in the same way
that tobacco is grown and used elsewhere. Despite stiff penalties and prohibitions such as these, however, drug dealing continues unabated throughout the region, particularly in cannabis and methaqualone
Corruption is another major criminal activity in the region. Without strict controls and supervision the widely conferred powers held by those in the public service are susceptible
to abuse. People with power who commit corrupt acts also have the means to suppress evidence or to influence by threats of reprisals or inducements people who might report corrupt activities. This adds to
the already low reportability of such acts.
The consequences of corruption constitute a public evil, for example: it is a source of injustice to members of the public who are denied services or
opportunities because they cannot pay bribes to public officials; it destroys competition and promotes the monopoly of people who are incompetent, corrupt and unworthy; it encourages favouritism and
irrationality in public administration; it dissipates public funds through the payment of bribes and kick-backs; it denies the public badly needed revenue through corrupt revenue-collection activities; it
corrodes the confidence of genuine investors and ultimately retards economic development.
While the setting up of specific laws and institutions to deal with corruption, as in the case of
Botswana's Corruption and Economic Crime Act of 1994 and the establishment of a Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime, are essential they are not enough to stem the tide of corruption. The body
politic must also be cleansed by constitutional mechanisms which stress the accountability of the political leadership to a body outside itself.
Corruption in Botswana
Katlholo, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime, Gaborone
Corruption can be interpreted in many ways and manifests itself in various forms. In Botswana the most common form of corrupt practice is bribery,
which is the acceptance of money, or any valuable consideration, as a reward for doing or not doing what one is expected to do, particularly involving acceptance of rewards for awarding contracts. Other
examples of corruption are the violation or manipulation of procedures in order to advance personal interests, including kick-backs from development programmes and pay-offs for legislative support; the
diversion of public resources for private use; overlooking illegal activities or intervening in the justice process.
The existence of corruption tends to: catalyse economic crime processes;
escalate the costs of goods and services paid for by governments, a burden which falls on the tax payer; distort rational policies and the economics of the market place, giving a competitive advantage to
those who corrupt rather than those who may have better products and services at more affordable prices; increase social misery by providing preferential treatment for the rich at the expense of the poor and
unsophisticated; undermine public confidence in political and judicial institutions.
Such cases of corruption are difficult to investigate as they are usually committed under the guise of
legitimate transactions where little substantive evidence may be available. To combat this, multi-disciplinary specialised units, with expertise in accounting and other professional disciplines, need to be
set up to deal with cases of corruption by gathering evidence, examining files and documents, and with the freedom to initiate and pursue investigations without distorting influence. In Botswana the
Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime
(DCEC) was established by the government in 1994 to tackle serious problems of corruption and economic crime. This was a direct response to the report of the
Presidential Commission of Enquiry into the Operations of the Botswana Housing Corporation
(BHC), and other reports concerning corrupt activities in the country.
The "three pronged attack strategy" of the Directorate consists of:
1. Investigation: to investigate allegations of corruption through a trained and supervised staff who have the
determination, perseverance, analytical skills, experience, sense of fairness and thorough knowledge of relevant laws and rules of evidence to establish the truth.
2. Prevention: corruption
often takes place when people take advantage of opportunities presented to them by unenforced or unenforceable legislation, poor supervision and management, and inadequate levels of accountability.
Government departments, local government and parastatal
organisations, as well as the private sector, are monitored and helped to improve the quality of their management, to introduce international quality
standards and to adopt codes of ethical conduct and accountability.
3. Education: anti-corruption measures as outlined above need to be accompanied by campaigns to strengthen public
responsibility and awareness. The specific objectives of the Public Education Group's programmes are: a) to educate the public against the evils of corruption, and b) to enlist and foster public support in
combatting corruption. Three main areas are addressed: publicity, youth education and direct liaison with the public.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
1. Identify the main causes of corruption in Southern Africa.
2. What are the main
strategies that should be devised to deal with the problem of corruption?
Compiled by G.
Mookodi, Department of Sociology, University of Botswana
Causes of Corruption in Southern Africa
Crime is not attributable to a single cause, but to a multiplicity of conditions. Participants identified several contributory factors that cause
corruption in Southern African countries. The causes of corruption were identified at the macro-structural and the micro-individual levels.
The Southern African region continues to undergo
rapid social, economic and cultural change.
Modernisation, which is characterised by industrialisation and
urbanisation, is accompanied by changes in living standards, values and consumption patterns. It was
noted that against the background of social and economic change, inequalities in access to resources prevail at the macro-structural level. The region is characterised by high unemployment and large income
disparities, with a large proportion of the population having limited access to resources. Within this context, officials within the criminal justice system are often overworked and underpaid and this can
encourage corrupt practices. The situation is further exacerbated within countries that are undergoing fundamental political change, especially those in transition from authoritarian to democratic
Cumbersome bureaucratic procedures and unfettered decision-making on the part of crucial legislators and policy makers tend to frustrate workers and encourage institutionalised
corruption. In addition to this, they contribute to a lack of transparency within bureaucratic organisations - especially within the criminal justice system. The existence of rigid bureaucratic structures
and unreviewable legislation such as, for example, ministerial decrees, encourage corrupt practices. The high level of competition within the private sector may serve to encourage corruption not only within
the sector, but within the public sector as well.
Given the increase in corruption, there is inadequate legislation to deter and combat it, and there are insufficient guidelines for the
identification of corrupt practices. The laws are also inadequate to be of guidance to the courts.
Micro-level causes of corruption are directly linked to macro-level factors. The rapidly
changing socio-cultural and economic environment has encouraged changes in values and consumption patterns. Evidence of this is the rate of conspicuous consumption within countries of the region. These
changes are therefore linked with the rise in the rate of "egotistical" corruption which is based not so much on personal need as on personal greed and the obsession with the individual
accumulation of material wealth.
Possible Solutions to the Problem of Corruption
Given the diverse nature of corruption, several possible solutions were recommended. At the
organisational level, the promotion of transparency and accountability within the public sector was seen as a priority with regard to deterring and arresting corruption practices.
establishment of anti-corruption bodies that would monitor activities at all levels was seen as essential. The establishment of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime in Botswana was seen as an
example that could be emulated in other countries in the region. It was deemed necessary to ensure that these bodies were impartial, and that there should be Ombudspersons, such as the Public Protector in
South Africa, who were publicly accountable and incorruptible. It was also felt that these bodies should be equipped with trained personnel and equipment, and armed with appropriate legislature to deal with
the diverse and changing nature of corruption throughout the region.
Finally, it was felt that there should be education campaigns at all levels, in both the public and private sectors, and among the
public at large, to sensitise all on the nature of corruption and its detrimental effects on the society and the economy.
Session 2: CRIME IN PERSPECTIVE 2
Urban Criminality in Southern Africa with Particular Reference to Violence Against Women and Problems of Youth Including Street Children
Magade, Department of Law, University of Zimbabwe
In Southern Africa violence by males against women is a serious social problem which should be recognised both by government and non-governmental
organisations. Southern African communities are
mostly patriarchal in nature with women playing an inferior and subservient role. Evidence suggests that the social, political and economic dependence on men provides a structure wherein men can perpetrate
violence against women, including wife battering,
femicide, rape, genital mutilation, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, psychological violence and confinement.
This structure, with its
concomitant set of values, traditions, beliefs and customs, emphasizes the dominance and pre-eminence of men often resulting in violence against women. Traditional practices, for example, officially sanction
violence against women and children in the form of "moderate chastisement". Essentially in Southern Africa, as elsewhere throughout the world, combatting such violence requires challenging the way
that gender roles and power relations are articulated in society.
Certainly, if such violence is not tackled it can act as a brake on development. Social problems such as hunger, illiteracy,
poverty and environmental degradation cannot be solved without women's full participation and women cannot participate or be creative in the development process when they are burdened with physical and
psychological scars of abuse.
Some of the areas that need to be considered when tackling the problem of violence against women include: legal reform; community intervention; establishment of
crisis centres and shelter groups; reform of school curricula; human rights training; media campaigns; improvement of statutory medical and legal services for victims of violence.
particularly those living in low income urban areas, are continually denied practically all the rights codified in the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The increasing numbers of "street
children" throughout the region results from: dislocation by wars, social and political upheavals; poor families dependent on their children working on the streets for survival; the tension, stress and
violence caused by the harshness of economic systems that do not satisfy even basic family requirements; the breakdown of the extended family system as a safety net; and escape from broken homes or congested
Societal attitudes to such children range from empathy to resentment and hostility, and are often based on their perceived involvement in a range of anti-social activities such as
begging, scavenging, pick-pocketing, substance abuse, prostitution and
Violence Against Women - Is it a Crime?
U. Dow, Metlhaetsile Women's Information
women, which occurs both within the family and the general community, refers to any gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to
women. While violence against women violates both the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms and limits women's full participation in the public sector, not all types of violence
against women are recognised as crimes by the criminal justice system.
In Botswana crimes are defined by the Penal Code (Cap 08: 01), a 1964 statute based primarily on British law, which does
not meet contemporary needs. The only notable amendment to the Penal Code of relevance to violence against women is the 1991 amendment which allows for termination of pregnancy in certain circumstances,
including rape and incest. Currently, women's groups and organisations are struggling for change, although little research has been conducted on violence against women in Botswana.
if women are to be equal partners in the development process they must be protected by the state from violence, whether through the enacting or reinforcing of penal legislation or the implementation and
ratification of, and giving effect to, international human rights norms and instruments.
Three types of violence against women are presented including detailed case studies of each type.
1. Battering: wife battering in particular is not considered a serious offence under prevalent views of customary law. A husband has a right, if not a duty, to reasonably chastise his wife using
physical violence. This results in an expectation by many women that they will be battered, and by many men that they will batter their partners. No specific legislation exists on battering and there are no
special procedures for dealing with complaints of battering. What happens within the family, where the man is supreme, is perceived as a private matter and this has contributed to the reluctance by the state
to protect women from violence within the home.
2. Rape: the current law on rape has remained unchanged over the years and is based on 16th century British law. Some of the problems with the
current rape law are: it does not criminalise forced carnal knowledge by a husband upon a wife such that marital rape, although a form of violence against women, is not a crime; it does not trust women when
it comes to sexual matters so that a complainant must have her evidence corroborated in some material respect by independent evidence; it has so far not allowed for a convicted rapist to be tested for HIV or
other sexually transmitted diseases, so that the victim has to undergo periodic testing to determine her HIV status; the prosecution of rape cases is normally carried out by police as opposed to state
attorneys while men accused of rape are often represented by attorneys; documentary evidence such as photographs of injuries/crime scenes are rarely presented.
3. Sexual Harassment: under the
Botswana Penal Code there is no crime of sexual harassment which refers to any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours and other unwelcome verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature. A
distinction is made between quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile environment sexual harassment.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
1. As we move towards the year 2000 what can be done in the context of Southern Africa to promote women and children's rights as a way of reducing
domestic violence? Does the criminal justice system adequately protect women and children from violence?
2. In view of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS throughout Southern Africa should there be
mandatory testing of suspects in rape cases?
Compiled by G. Mookodi, Department of Sociology, University of Botswana
Women and Children's Rights Under the
Criminal Justice System in Southern Africa
As Southern Africa moves towards the year 2000 violence against women and children remains a major problem. In Africa at large, and Southern
Africa in particular, the physical and emotional victimisation of women and children continues unabated. While the pursuance of human rights exists on the agenda of many governments, criminal justice systems
throughout the region have literally failed to protect women and children from violence and
victimisation. It was noted that, whilst the rights of women and children are usually included under the same
category, it is important to differentiate between the two in order to identify the nature and types of abuse and victimisation that are peculiar to each group. Furthermore, it is important to identify the
specific socio-cultural, economic and political contexts that give rise to and perpetuate violence against women and children and subject them to
The existence of cultural
practices that not only facilitate but encourage the victimisation of women were noted and discussed at length. One such widespread practice is that of lobola
(bridewealth) which was seen as having undergone
significant changes from its inherently "ideal" traditional form. In most Southern African countries, the practice of lobola was traditionally seen as a means of uniting families, showing respect
for the important role that women play in families and communities, and safeguarding the interests of women and children in the event of divorce or death of male spouses. In the process of social and
economic change, the role and significance of the practice has been subjected to diverse interpretations. One of the most prevalent of these is the insinuation that women are being bought which leads to the
belief that women, as property, can be subjected to systematic physical and psychological abuse by men.
It was generally felt that societies show an ambivalence about women's issues. Domestic
violence, which is common in most Southern African countries, is seen as a private matter and is therefore not afforded the attention it deserves within the criminal justice system. In addition, victims of
rape are often subjected to secondary victimisation through insensitive methods used by investigating officials. While human rights and women's pressure groups publicise the plight of women and children who
have been subjected to violence and
victimisation, these groups are often regarded as somehow representing "western views", and as such not representing the sentiments of the majority.
The protection of women and children from violence and victimisation is an integral component of human rights, and therefore it was felt that there should be more concerted efforts to ensure that their
rights are protected. This could be done through the empowerment of women and children to recognise forms of abuse and report the incidents accordingly. It was also felt that legislation to protect women and
children from victimisation should be passed. For example, in Uganda, the age of majority has been fixed at 18 years and any man defiling a girl under this age faces severe punishment. Botswana has recently
enacted an Act concerning rape and, although loop-holes remain, there are severe penalties for perpetrators of rape. The main priority is therefore to remove the loop-holes and strengthen the legislation and
its enforcement. In addition to this, there should be education for policy makers and role players in the criminal justice system to ensure that victims receive adequate recourse through the law, and are not
further victimised and traumatised in the process of giving evidence. This is particularly important with regard to rape cases, where women should give evidence in camera to trained personnel, preferably
It was generally felt that while gender equality is often seen as a foreign, "Western" concept in many Southern African counties, violence and victimisation are not
foreign, but endemic aspects of Southern African societies, and therefore there is a pressing need to make concerted efforts to address the situation to protect all persons from violence and
Mandatory Testing of Rape Suspects for HIV
Policy responses to rape-induced HIV/AIDS vary from country to country. The unresolved problem, however, is that of maintaining a balance between
safeguarding the larger society and ensuring the protection of the rights of individuals. With regard to the question of mandatory testing of rape suspects for HIV, the fundamental question that was asked
was: what purpose should mandatory testing serve? It was felt that while the mandatory testing is often necessary for the proper administration of justice, for example in the testing of blood in cases of
driving under the influence of alcohol, there may be problems with regard to mandatory testing for HIV. The main problem identified was that the administration of such tests could conflict with individual
and personal rights. In addition, there is the problem of establishing whether the perpetrator, and not the victim, is the primary carrier. It was felt that mandatory testing should therefore only be
administered in cases where there is adequate evidence pointing to the suspect as the most likely perpetrator.
In some jurisdictions compulsory screening of the suspect's blood is carried out.
To protect society, Zimbabwe is considering passing legislation making it a crime for any individual to recklessly infect another with HIV. In Kenya, HIV positive rapists may be treated as attempted
Session 3: CRIMINAL JUSTICE, CRIME PREVENTION AND THE TREATMENT OF OFFENDERS
Crime Prevention, Criminal Justice and the Treatment of Offenders in Africa: Common Problems
and Main Issues of Concern
Shaidi, Department of Law, University of
African societies are beset by a range of problems within their criminal justice systems ranging
from problems of investigations and severe delays in the disposal of cases to poor prison conditions and failure to observe minimum human rights standards for suspects, detainees and offenders. Within an
international rights culture, each country needs to develop a comprehensive and coherent penal policy to deal with these problems. Currently, most countries in the region lack clear penal policies and those
that do often contain contradictions, for example, while they may have constitutional provisions prohibiting torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, they also retain corporal punishment.
A flexible and coherent penal policy which responds to changes and new demands in society should include the following areas:
1. Crime Prevention and Control: as development per se
does not necessarily generate growth in the rate of crime, the problem of crime is primarily one of lack of management in terms of prevention and control, necessary to reduce crime to its minimal level.
Short and long term planning, for example, needs to incorporate policies that would include increased community participation and provide employment opportunities.
2. Law Enforcement and
Administration of Justice: many of the problems experienced in these areas are operational ones which could be tackled by improved leadership, proper training and supervision. Government assistance with
allocation of resources and adherence to basic UN principles and guidelines, for example, relating to the independence of the judiciary and justice for victims of crime and the abuse of power, would also
help. Informal dispute settlement mechanisms like tribunals which have the power to compensate the other party, thereby fostering reconciliation of parties, should be encouraged and promoted.
3. Punishments: concern must be expressed over the uses of capital and corporal punishment, as the vast majority of African countries still retain these forms of punishment. Human rights groups and even
lawyers and judges are challenging the constitutionality and legitimacy of capital punishment, and several UN instruments on criminal justice are against the application of [unspecified] "cruel,
inhumane and degrading punishments".
4. Treatment of Prisoners: imprisonment is still the main form of punishment for offenders in African societies. Compared with ordinary living
conditions outside prison and international standards like those contained in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, in many countries prison conditions are very poor with prisoners living under
inhuman or sub-standard conditions. Overcrowding, a high death rate among prisoners, and neglect of the special needs of imprisoned women and children are of particular concern.
Co-ordination of Criminal Justice Functions: while the criminal justice system should operate as an integrated system, in reality there is often a lack of co-ordination between its three main components: the
police, the judiciary and prisons. There is a need for a body to co-ordinate the objectives and functions of these components and any other specialised autonomous institutions or agencies such as those
dealing with juvenile justice, drug enforcement or corruption.
In all the above cases inadequacies cannot be blamed on colonial laws and practices inherited at independence. African countries
should now develop broad-based penal policies based on the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and international UN human rights instruments.
Criminal Justice, Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders
Tafa, Deputy Attorney General, Botswana
The criminal justice system, crime prevention and the treatment of offenders are the three basic components of Botswana's legal system. They need to
be founded on the constitution and its safeguards from institutional or individual breaches of basic human rights. However, although our legal system has developed and improved rapidly since independence in
1966, it still contains some weaknesses. This is particularly the case with the dual nature of the legal system which consists of the customary law system and the "received law" system. While
customary courts, for example, should comply with the provision of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, in fact police prosecutors may use the customary courts in order to deprive the accused of legal
representation to assist with their
It must be recognised that criminal justice is a living process and not just an abstract concept. All three stages of the criminal justice system:
the definition stage, the procedural stage, and the sanctions stage must meet the basic requirements of the principle of legality. Citizens should be made aware of the legal system, criminal procedures must
not be tainted by illegality, corruption or perversity and sanctions must be aimed at achieving retribution, deterrence, restraint and rehabilitation.
Economic and social development in
Botswana has resulted in a corresponding increase and sophistication in the carrying out of criminal conduct, both among individuals and criminal
organisations. Law enforcement agencies must therefore keep
up to date with the latest forensic and investigation technologies to enhance their level of operations and investigations. With the increase in cross-border crime, for example, the government has
implemented specific Acts to prevent criminals from fleeing into, or out of, Botswana.
The treatment of offenders through all stages of the criminal justice system needs to be guarded carefully
to avoid abuses. Section 228 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, for example, relates to the proscription of torture or undue influence to coerce a suspect or offender, while conditions in the
prisons need to meet the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Offenders promulgated by the United Nations in 1955, particularly those relating to access to medical services, to hygiene and sanitary
facilities, and to communication with one's family and lawyer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
1. How effective are criminal justice systems in Southern Africa in upholding the basic human rights of offenders? Identify the main problem areas.
2. What can be done.
Compiled by I.
Malila, Department of Sociology, University of Botswana
Criminal Justice Systems, Crime Prevention and the Treatment of Offenders in
There was agreement that an offender or suspect is entitled to human dignity and the following rights were identified as the basic ones to which he/she is entitled:
right to proper legal representation in all courts; right to be regarded innocent until proven guilty; right to remain silent; right to communicate and interact with relatives, friends and lawyers; right to
conjugal rights; and others such as freedom of expression, decent medical care and decent accommodation and meals.
The observance of human rights within Southern Africa, however, varies both
within criminal justice systems and between countries, mainly because of differences in the operational activities of institutions and agencies as well as their subcultures. Although the rights of suspects
and offenders are enshrined in most national constitutions, in Africa many have been denied these rights due to a number of factors including, inter
alia, authoritarian governments, corruption in the
criminal justice system, abuse of suspects by investigating officers, delays in processing cases, and shortage of manpower and other resources. Some lawyers were also accused of denying offenders their basic
rights through inefficiency and charging exorbitant fees.
It was also noted that there is a need to establish legal aid funds that would protect the rights of the poor, vulnerable and
marginalised groups in society such as women, ethnic minorities and illegal immigrants. A need to make law more accessible to the general public was also noted especially in terms of the language used.
Although recently there has been an observable shift from punishment-oriented to treatment-oriented approaches in the treatment of offenders, it was observed that prisons are generally
ineffective in rehabilitating offenders largely because of the terrible physical and psychological conditions under which prisoners live. These conditions include overcrowding, prejudice and discrimination.
Overcrowding in prisons is especially prevalent in Southern Africa.
How to Tackle the Overcrowding Problem
In order to strengthen the treatment approach and avoid
overcrowding in prisons, the following proposals were made:
|·||offenders should be made to work in community based
|·||decriminalisation of some minor offences such as those that involve no victim and those involving minor indebtedness; |
|·||increased use of parole and probation; |
|·||the need to separate remand from the sentence system; |
|·||young offenders should be separated from older ones; |
|·||electronic monitoring/targeting system to be used to track hardened criminals; |
|·||sentences should be relative to the nature of the offence committed; |
|·||criminal justice officers and the public in general should be educated about various aspects of crime; and |
|·||greater utilisation of informal means of dispute resolution. |
There was no agreement, however, on the use of corporal punishment and the building of more prisons to minimise overcrowding existing in prisons. Indeed, some saw corporal punishment as a
viable alternative to imprisonment, especially for young offenders.
Session 4: RESEARCH AND
INFORMATION SYSTEMS ON CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Sources and Strategies for the
Development of Crime and Criminal Justice Information with Particular Reference to Southern Africa
Zvekic, Research Co-ordinator, UNICRI
Sources and Strategies. Informed decision
making in criminal justice must rely on reliable, timely and efficient criminal justice information. International co-operation in crime prevention and criminal justice also requires reliable, timely and
comparable criminal justice information. On the international level the United Nations Surveys of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice is the most authoritative source based on the Member States'
official criminal justice statistics. Due to differences in legal definitions, methodology of data collection and processing, various degrees of data quality and coverage, international comparisons and
planning of international co-operation are fraught with enormous difficulties. However, participation in the UN Crime Surveys is also an important endeavour in improving the national level criminal justice
statistics. Recently, a number of alternative international sources of criminal justice information were created such as the International Crime (Victim) Survey, the International Survey of Crimes Against
Businesses and the International Self-Report Delinquency Study. Selected key findings of the two largest surveys, namely the UN Crime Survey and the
IC(V)S, are outlined with a particular focus on the
Southern African region.
UN Crime Surveys. Of the 27 African countries, including the African Arab States, which participated in any UN Crime Survey, 20 were from Sub-Saharan Africa. Only one
Sub-Sahara African country - Seychelles - is among the group of thirty-six which contributed to all the UN Crime Surveys; two (Zimbabwe and South Africa) participated in the last three surveys, while 4
(Mauritius, Lesotho, Ghana and Botswana) took part in the Third and Fourth Surveys. An encouraging indicator is the participation of 13 and 12 Sub-Sahara African countries in the Third and the Fourth Survey
respectively. Yet, this is still less than one quarter of the Sub-Sahara African countries and further efforts are needed to increase both the rate of participation, as well as the coverage and quality of
Violent crime exhibits different trends in various countries, while theft is still the most frequent offence in the region. Allocation of financial resources tends to support the
general impression that policing is the most privileged sector within the criminal justice system in the developing world.
The International Crime (Victim) Survey. The first sweep of the IC(V)S
(1989) included only one developing site (Surabaya, Indonesia) and only one site from among countries in transition (Warsaw, Poland). The second 1992-94 sweep included 13 developing countries and 7 countries
in transition. The current IC(V)S further increased the total presence of both developing countries and countries in transition, to 12 of each. However, the second IC(V)S sweep included two African Arab
States and three Sub-Sahara African countries while, unfortunately, the third includes only three Sub-Sahara African countries. Uganda and South Africa participated in both the second and third rounds, while
Zimbabwe is a newcomer to the IC(V)S.
On a global level, developing countries have higher crime rates than the developed urban world, radically changing the earlier perceptions of crime rates
which were entirely based on official criminal justice statistics. Africa has the highest victimisation rate for any crime type covered by the
IC(V)S. Sub-Saharan Africa also leads with respect to violent
Of all the crimes covered, consumer fraud and corruption stand out as the most frequent victimisation experiences in all the regions of the developing world. Both Sub-Saharan Africa and
North Africa lead in consumer fraud and, together with Latin America, in corruption.
On average, citizens from the developing world cities are less satisfied with the police than those in the
developed world. However, it is noted that, in particular in Africa, people tend to rely on self-help, family and members of the neighbourhood in solving the consequences of victimisation or recovering goods
and receiving compensation. This shows an important role of community mechanisms in easing the crime burden. It should be noted that across the world citizens perceive police presence as the most important
crime prevention factor. This call for police presence is not necessarily a call for more policemen or more equipment. It is a call for a different, communal police
organisation, and an active role in crime
prevention in co-operation with the community.
The IC(V)S experience is of great significance not so much in terms of knowing how much crime there is "out there" as it is in
understanding the process of criminal victimisation risk distribution and the process of promoting confidence between the police and citizens; in the ultimate instance, confidence between the state, law, the
criminal justice system and people. It is hoped that more focus on victims will also "return" victims to the mainstream of criminal justice.
Research and Information on Crime in Botswana: Beyond Official Police Statistics
D. Macdonald and L.
Molamu, Department of Sociology, University of Botswana
As in most countries in the
Southern African region, government statistics and reports on crime and criminal justice in Botswana are likely to represent the key source of information on which related social policies are based. As is
the case in most developing societies, police statistics constitute the largest, although not always the most reliable, presentation of reported crime. Such data present a relatively detailed national
overview of criminal activity in Botswana and show the changing, fluctuating and often escalating nature of reported crime. Between 1984 and 1994, for example, the murder/attempted murder rate rose from 69
to 191, stock theft remained remarkably consistent, and theft from a motor vehicle dropped from 620 cases to 86, which is probably a reflection of the dramatic increase in car alarm sales and changes in
insurance company requirements during that period.
However, as criminologists have long acknowledged, official statistics on crime contain severe limitations regarding their reliability and
validity and should not be used as the sole source of data for policy making. This is particularly the case in developing societies where police resources may be limited and recording techniques less than
efficient. Indeed, within developing countries there is a need to be both innovative and inventive in collecting relevant information and data on crime.
A wide range of information and research
sources on the nature and extent of crime and criminality need to be considered in the policy and planning context. Five key areas are identified as sources within Botswana:
Studies and other Research: a victimisation study in
Gaborone, Botswana's capital city, is planned for 1997 as part of UNICRI's International Crime (Victim) Survey. A few small scale qualitative studies have
provided information about the nature of "hidden crime", particularly violence against women and why it is not reported to the police. Although little research has been carried out on crime per se,
there is a volume of research literature on various aspects of Botswana's criminal law.
2. The Media: while the mass media, as in other countries, tends to be selective and sometimes
sensationalist in its portrayal of crime, the private press in Botswana has been responsible for accurately informing the public about the nature and extent of economic crime and corruption. This has led to
radical changes in the law concerning these crimes, including the creation in 1994 of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime.
3. Government Reports: these have provided very detailed
empirical evidence of the systemic and systematic nature of economic crime and corruption which clearly refutes the common assumption held in many societies that the nature of "crime" is
predominantly predatory street crime.
4. Private Security Companies: they provide regular information, through News Bulletins, about the types of crime prevented by their personnel and which
may not be reported to the police.
5. Socio-economic Data: while "predicting" future crime patterns and trends is a notoriously risky and even dubious venture, socio-economic
indicators of social inequality, high poverty rates and unemployment in a comparatively rich and rapidly modernising society like Botswana would suggest a dramatic rise in youth crime over the next decade
unless structural conditions are urgently addressed through government policy.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
1. How can the recording and processing of data related to crime and criminal justice be improved in Southern Africa?
2. What type of information is most
needed for monitoring the operations of criminal justice systems?
Compiled by A.
Rwomire, Department of Social Work, University of Botswana
Recording and Processing Crime Data
Valid and reliable information is required for use in judging the adequacy or effectiveness of a criminal justice system (CJS)
information is necessary for evaluating, inter
alia, the performance of the system, for example in terms of availability and utilisation of human, financial and material resources which are needed to deal
with crime. Those involved, like the police, researchers, and evaluators, are expected to collect, analyse and interpret data and to make conclusions and predictions in terms of what is happening within the
The major sources of crime statistics are the law-enforcement institutions including police departments, courts, and correctional agencies. Other sources include business enterprises,
insurance companies and security agencies and organisations which conduct victimisation surveys. The types of data required include demographic data, for example, covering the size, composition, and
characteristics of populations affected by, or dealing with crime. Also needed are data regarding the nature, characteristics and magnitude of certain crimes like drug trafficking, motor vehicle theft and
robbery. Budgetary data would show the amount of money spent on various CJS
Despite commendable efforts that have been made by the relevant data processing and record keeping agencies, the
available information remains incomplete and inaccurate. Furthermore, data collection methods and procedures used are largely rudimentary. The data are collected and analysed manually, a process which is
very inefficient. Lack of reliable information is also traceable to insufficient and misguided allocation of resources such as personnel, facilities, equipment and training, as well as ignorance and
misconceptions about the CJS, especially where police officers are involved. Furthermore, CJS data systems do not capture the so-called "dark" figures of crime, for example, data relating to
white-collar crime, violence against women and other types of crime unlikely to be reported to, and recorded by, the police.
Improving the Recording and Processing of Crime Data and Information
Since valid and reliable information is crucial for combatting crime, there should be binding legislation that compels
all sections of the CJS to compile and disseminate crime data and information. Moreover, crime-related investigations should be conducted systematically and periodically rather than sporadically and
erratically. For purposes of generating comparative and generalisable data sets on national and sub-regional levels, specialised bodies should be established, inter
alia, to standardise and harmonise data
collection procedures and instruments.
National Statistics Bureaux or privately sponsored institutes should be set up and empowered to collect, analyse and disseminate information relating to
crime. In order to carry out their work efficiently and effectively such bodies should be provided with the necessary resources and facilities by government. In this connection, relevant personnel in the CJS
should be provided with appropriate and comprehensive education and training including the development of basic computerised data processing skills.
Information generated by the CJS should be
distributed in good time to the appropriate users. Policy makers, for example, should have easy access to quantitative and qualitative data and information on crime trends and problems facing the CJS. On the
other hand, the general public should be provided with simplified information and educational programmes such as "open days", that inform and enlighten them about the role and activities of the
It is absolutely essential that all sections of the CJS work closely together so as to reduce duplication of effort and promote efficiency. Co-operation is required between public and
private security agencies as well as between the CJS and NGOs, inter
alia, to share information regarding crime trends, court decisions and "dark figures" of crime like domestic violence. Besides,
collaborative and co-operative relationships should be established between national and sub-regional criminal justice centres and with such bodies as UNAFRI and the INTERPOL Regional Office which is being
set up in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Session 5: IMPLICATIONS FOR AFRICA OF THE NINTH UNITED NATIONS CONGRESS ON
THE PREVENTION OF CRIME AND THE TREATMENT OF OFFENDERS
An Overview of the United
Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme
Woltring, Director and U. Zvekic, Research Co-ordinator, UNICRI
The Programme consists of the Commission on Crime Prevention
and Criminal Justice which is the policy-making body; the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division
(CPCJD-UNOV) which acts as the Secretariat to the Commission and the operational
co-ordinator of the
activities of the Programme, and the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network. The UN Programme Network is composed of the following members: the United Nations Interregional
Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), Rome, Italy; the Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, affiliated with the United Nations
Japan; African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, affiliated with the United Nations
(UNAFRI), Kampala, Uganda; the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control,
affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI), Helsinki, Finland; The Latin American Institute for Crime Prevention and the Treatment of Offenders, affiliated with the United Nations
(ILANUD), San Jose, Costa
Rica; the International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme
(ISPAC), Milan, Italy; the Arab Security Studies and Training Center (ASSTC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the National Institute of Justice
(NIJ), Washington, USA; the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), Canberra, Australia; the International Centre for the Prevention of
Crime (ICPC), Montreal, Canada; the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy
(ICCLR & CJP), Vancouver, Canada; the International Institute for Higher Studies in Criminal
Sciences (ISISC), Syracuse, Italy; and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights,
Another major component of the Programme is the quinquennial United Nations Congress on
the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. Before the establishment of the Commission (1992) the Congress was the main policy-making body of the
Programme. The first Congress was held in 1955
and the most recent one, the ninth, was held in Cairo, Egypt in 1995. It is the most representative and largest international forum for exchange of ideas and experiences as well as the development of
international co-operation. The Agenda of the Ninth Congress included: international co-operation and practical technical assistance; action against national and transnational economic and organised crime;
management and improvement of operations of criminal justice agencies, and crime prevention strategies. In addition, two special sessions were held on anti-corruption strategies and technical co-operation,
as well as six research and demonstration workshops on: extradition; mass media and crime prevention; urban policy and crime prevention; prevention of violent crime; environmental protection; computerisation
and criminal justice information.
The Congress discussed a number of resolutions providing guidelines for strengthening international co-operation in crime prevention and criminal justice.
The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice consists of forty Member States, and meets annually. It is the policy-making body for setting the framework and reviewing the
The fifth session was held in Vienna from 22 to 31 May 1996, and focused on organised transnational crime, the elimination of violence against women, illicit trafficking in children, the role of criminal law
in the protection of the environment, the prevention and control of corruption, safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, the protection of victims of crime and
abuse of power, computerisation in the administration of criminal justice, and the preparations for the Tenth United Nations Congress, to be held in the year 2000. The Commission also submitted to the
General Assembly a draft United Nations Declaration on Crime and Public Security. On each of the above mentioned issues the Commission adopted either resolutions or action plans.
Implications for Africa of the Ninth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders
Kibuka, Deputy Director, UNAFRI
In accordance with United
Nations General Assembly resolution 46/152 on the "Creation of Efficient United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme", the role and functions of the United Nations Congress for
the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders as an organ involved in the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice process are specified.
The Ninth Congress was the first
to be held on the African continent and, following the review of the crime prevention and criminal justice
programme, had as its overall theme: "Less Crime, More Justice; Security For All". The
resolutions adopted by the Ninth Congress related to its four substantive topics and special sessions, the research and demonstration workshops, and auxiliary meetings.
The resolution relating
to topic one: "International Cooperation and Practical Technical Assistance for Strengthening the Rule of Law, Promoting the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme",
underscored the need for technical co-operation and urged the international community to give support to activities devoted to the process of democratisation and strengthening the rule of law. Its
implication for African States is to concretely demonstrate their political will, commitment and readiness to give priority to programmes and activities devoted to strengthening of the rule of law in their
respective countries and, in particular, in their national development plans and annual budget allocations, to activities and services relating to the rule of law, crime prevention and criminal justice.
Similar priority is expected with respect to proposals for support and assistance submitted to
UNDP, World Bank and other international or national donor agencies. With respect to the resolution on topic
two: "Action Against National and Transnational Economic and Organized Crime and the Role of Criminal Law in the Protection of the Environment: National Experiences and International Cooperation",
the following points are critical:
1. Africa is no exception to the global phenomenon of economic and organised crime;
2. the African situation is compounded by striking
technological insufficiencies of law enforcement and criminal justice agencies;
3. in many African countries, these types of crime are noticeably being committed by foreigners, and crime of
international dimensions like drug trafficking, money laundering, smuggling of cash crops, minerals and culturally significant property, auto thefts, international frauds, tax evasion, cattle rustling, and
terrorism are on the increase. Africa is increasingly becoming a haven for international fugitives who take advantage of the situation; and
4. economies of African countries are crisis ridden,
in which case governments and financial institutions may not realistically and effectively discriminate the type of funds accepted into their economies. Consequently, there is a need for the establishment of
a framework for interstate co-operation and co-ordination, including negotiating modern efficient treaties and enacting legislation on international extradition and mutual assistance to respond to the
serious new forms and transnational aspects and dimensions of crime at subregional and regional levels.
The resolution on topic three: "Criminal Justice and Police Systems, Management and
Improvement of Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies, Prosecutions, Courts and Corrections and the Role of Lawyers", calls upon the African States to review and reconsider the structure of their
criminal justice systems. The foundations of these systems have to be set on a more natural footing free from institutional rules of past political masters. Programmes for the training of the police have to
be established in the region in order for the personnel to develop new capacities and skills in the use of emerging technologies in law enforcement. Similarly, this need for retraining would apply to other
criminal justice personnel, including the judiciary. African governments should be encouraged and, wherever possible, supported to institute promising strategies and initiatives tried and tested elsewhere
such as community-oriented policing, neighbourhood watch schemes, and involvement of the private sector and the media in crime prevention campaigns. African governments have an obligation to ensure the
implementation of measures towards the protection of the independence of the judiciary. Additionally, they have the obligation to institute measures to ensure observance of human rights of suspects and
convicted offenders, particularly those incarcerated as these are central to the maintenance of the integrity of human rights. Related to such moves is the need to improve prison conditions.
With respect to the resolution on topic four: "Crime Prevention Strategies, in Particular as Related to Crime in Urban Areas and Juvenile and Violent Criminality Including the Question of Victims,
Assessment and New Perspectives", the major challenge to Africa is the need for a change in thinking and fundamental orientation of the good of public policy on crime prevention and urban security.
There is also a need for regional co-operation to facilitate exchange of knowledge, experiences, information of on-going tried and tested initiatives, and exposure to emerging information and knowledge about
crimes, juvenile delinquency, violent criminality and
The resolution on the "Special Session on Experiences in Practical Measures Aimed at Combating Corruption Involving
Public Officials and Technical Cooperation", challenges the African States to promptly review the capacities of the criminal justice personnel, and the appropriateness of their national structures and
laws in order to realistically assess their needs for technical assistance and thereafter to make submission for such assistance to donor agencies. The resolution is also intended to bring to the attention
of African States the leading role the United Nations, through the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division,
UNAFRI, UNICRI and other international agencies, are expected to play towards strengthening
regional and international co-operation. The African governments are further made aware of the services of the United Nations interregional advisers on crime prevention and criminal justice in assisting
African States towards accessing international funding agencies and donor countries.
Lastly, the United Nations General Assembly which adopted these resolutions and recommendations of the Ninth
Congress invited the governments to be guided by the results of the Congress in formulating legislation and policy directives and to make all efforts to implement the principles contained therein, in
accordance with economic, social, legal, cultural and political circumstances of each country. The African governments are challenged to mobilise all support by designing and implementing public awareness
programmes at varying levels, and particularly of opinion leaders. Crime prevention initiatives have to be linked with those designed to increase sustainable development.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
1. How applicable are UN standards and norms to Southern African
countries? What are the problems of implementing these standards and norms?
2. What kind of technical assistance is needed in Southern Africa to facilitate the process of international
Compiled by A.
Rwomire, Department of Social Work, University of Botswana
Applicability of UN Criminal Justice Standards and Norms to Southern Africa
By and large these standards refer to the principles, guidelines and provisions pertaining to criminal justice
and the treatment of offenders. Examples include those relating to such matters as violence against women and child abuse. These standards, which are largely based on consensus agreement among national
governments, are intended to be universal. However, they are not obligatory, even though they are basically minimum standards which should be incorporated into any good constitution or sound legislation.
Obviously, they are more likely to be applied in an environment where human rights are entrenched in a country's constitution.
Despite the desirability and usefulness of the standards in
question, several practical problems hinder their implementation. Firstly, certain cultural values and traditions tend to impede the ratification and implementation of UN prescribed standards. The issue of
corporal punishment, for example, remains highly controversial in Africa. In some societies, there is opposition to the said standards partly because they emphasise individual rather than community rights.
Secondly, lack of political leadership committed to democratic values and human rights is a major constraint on the implementation of these standards. This constraint is compounded by bureaucratic
inefficiency and, more often than not, there is a discrepancy between high-level decision making and the practical realities of implementation in the CJS. Thirdly, shortage of resources, facilities and
equipment means that UN standards cannot be easily given effect to in many Southern African countries.
In sum, the implementation of UN standards fundamentally depends on fostering the
requisite human rights culture, political determination and increased administrative efficiency in Africa's criminal justice systems. The ratification and implementation of the standards remain problematic
partly because some of them may not be perceived as appropriate in the African context. Understandably, even though several meetings, such as conferences, seminars and workshops, have been held on criminal
justice and the treatment of offenders, the resultant resolutions and recommendations have not received the attention they deserve and have largely remained on paper.
makers in the area of criminal justice should investigate how cultural constraints can be tackled. One of the approaches would be the development of sets of standards that are acceptable and applicable to
African societies. Another strategy would be the establishment of Institutes to analyse UN resolutions and standards and formulate policy and programme guidelines for African governments to follow.
Technical Assistance Requirements
Technical assistance, both bilateral and international, is required in order to meet specific needs in such criminal justice areas as
police, prosecution, extradition laws and policies, customary laws and other areas of legislation. Co-operation and assistance are also required in the advisory services. It is noteworthy that relevant
advisors and consultants are not necessarily found outside the region, and in many instances are readily available in African countries. Accordingly, governments should utilise the human resources that are
available in the African region. Co-operation is also necessary in order to reduce communication barriers and ensure efficiency in crime prevention and control. Inter-state free flow of information is
required, especially in areas where there are serious shortages of expertise like the judiciary, the police, and corrections.
Regional organisations like SADC and
UNAFRI, if strengthened, can
play a crucial role in terms of co-ordinating efforts directed towards the acquisition and distribution of needed personnel and resources.
SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The Workshop on "Crime in Southern
Africa: Towards the Year 2000", held in
Gaborone, Botswana, from 19-21 June 1996, drew together practitioners and researchers of the criminal justice systems of the seven participating states as well as
international experts. The international character of this workshop was highlighted both in its promotion of international cooperation as well as by the fact that it was
co-organised by a number of
international and national entities (Commonwealth Secretariat, UNICRI, UNAFRI and the Department of Sociology, University of Botswana).
A number of factors generating crime were identified as
well as inadequate policy responses, including resource constraints. While specific suggestions and recommendations are contained in papers and discussions, major issues and priorities requiring appropriate
attention and policy measures include:
|·||the increase in both conventional and new forms of crime; |
|·||the often inadequate capacities of the criminal justice system to respond in an efficient, effective and humane manner; |
|·||the need to incorporate internationally accepted human rights standards in criminal justice; |
|·||the need for enhanced training of criminal justice personnel; |
|·||the need for policy oriented research on crime and criminal justice, both for informed policy making and improved management, evaluation monitoring, and planning; |
|·||the necessity for continuing exchange of information, technical co-operation and other capacity building measures at the national, regional and international levels. |
The following issues were deemed of particular importance.
Corruption was seen as one of the major problems, requiring:
|·||promulgation of effective regulatory and criminal justice legislation; |
|·||the promotion of transparency and accountability in both public and private sectors; |
|·||the establishment of independent specialised anti-corruption bodies and improvements in investigative and prosecutorial methods; |
|·||prevention, awareness and education at all levels of society. |
Violence against Women was also seen as a significant problem with some cultural overtones, although a number of participants were of the view that "culture" was often used as an
excuse to resist change. In particular, efforts are to be directed towards:
|·||law reform; |
|·||prevention and education to eliminate gender stereotyping and the consequences thereof; |
|·||provision of infrastructures for victim assistance; |
|·||training of criminal justice personnel to prevent, inform and assist; and |
|·||re-examination of certain cultural practices which may no longer serve the purposes for which they were instituted. |
Prison Overcrowding appears to be endemic. Emphasis was placed on a range of non custodial sanctioning options including greater reliance on community service, probation and parole,
decriminalisation of minor offences and indebtedness. A greater role for informal dispute resolution and education was also underlined.
It is interesting to note that in each problem area
identified, education at all levels of society was seen as one of the principal solutions, provided that educational material, based on sound empirical data, was available. Education of the public was seen
as essential in the fight against corruption, in the acceptance of more humane forms of punishment and in overcoming gender distinctions attributed by some to "culture". Training at all levels of
the criminal justice system in order to render the system fairer, more efficient, effective and humane was also regarded as a prerequisite. Similarly, research by way of the gathering and analysis of
policy-relevant information at a national, regional and international level was seen to be of the utmost importance. The role of bodies such as the United Nations, UNICRI, UNAFRI and the Commonwealth
Secretariat in the provision of international technical co-operation, including research, exchange of information and training, was
The organisers hope that this will be the first
in a series of similar workshops and that this publication will stimulate a demand for them at all levels including policy makers and legislators.
Patrignani, Associate Research Officer, UNICRI
Please spend some time thinking about, then answering, the following questions.
1. What did you like best about the workshop?
2. What did you like least about the workshop?
3. What did you learn at the workshop that will be most useful to you in your work?
4. What did you think about the administration of the workshop?
5. Do you have any suggestions for follow-up workshops?
6. Do you have any other comments you would like to make about the workshop?
A process evaluation was carried out at the end of the workshop. The participants, including
organisers, rapporteurs and presenters, provided
information about how they had experienced the workshop and what they had learned that would be most useful for them in their future work. This latter question, of course, could only be properly answered by
on outcome evaluation carried out 3 to 4 months after the workshop had ended.
A brief synopsis from 38 responses to the evaluation is provided herewith:
1. The active involvement
of participants, the open and informal exchange of views, the friendly atmosphere and the practical orientation of the workshop were the elements that were most often indicated. The presentations, programme
and topics were considered informative and adequate. Specific topics discussed during the workshop were also indicated, such as the information on the situation in the sub-region and at the international
level; treatment of offenders; violence against women; the importance of training.
2. Lack of adequate time, particularly for discussion during both the plenary and working sessions was
highlighted in most responses. It was also felt that the programme was too condensed. Concerning the selection of participants, some suggested that there should be more policy makers while others thought the
seminar should be oriented more towards middle-level management and practitioners.
3. Many participants mentioned more than one issue, among which: the importance of exchange of information in
view of similar problems in the region and hence the importance of analysing them from different perspectives; co-operation and common strategies in the region; collaborative decision-making among the
different components of the criminal justice system; the role of the UN and international instruments and standards; the role of other international and regional
organisations. A number of respondents
emphasised particular topics discussed during the workshop: the treatment of offenders and their rights; the importance of adhering to human rights standards; measures to assist women victims of rape; and
measures to reduce congestion in prison.
4. General appreciation was expressed regarding the organisation of the Workshop. The point about lack of discussion time was reiterated, as well as a
need for more informal networking.
5. Many of the participants, albeit in different ways, called for the replication of a similar workshop with the suggestion to invite, to the extent possible,
the same participants in order to guarantee continuation and allow for the outcome evaluation. Other regional workshops focussing on specific topics were also suggested, such as: anti-corruption; probation
and non custodial sanctions; treatment of offenders; the rights of victims; a follow-up workshop on practical solutions related to the points raised during the sessions. A need for the wide distribution of
the report of the workshop was underscored. It was also proposed that country reports on the themes should be prepared.
6. 24 participants provided further comments including: the organisation
of similar workshops on a periodical basis; organising the workshop at the national level to facilitate the awareness, and the implementation of human rights standards in criminal justice; gender sensitivity
in representation; wider range of participants; participation of the media; identification of mechanisms to bring the suggestions of the workshop to the attention of the relevant national authorities.
General conclusion. The general themes of the Workshop, and in particular the presentations on specific topics followed by training sessions, even within the limited time available, were highly
appreciated both as a method of work as well as in terms of international co-operation. The exhortations to repeat the workshop and organise follow-up workshops on particular topics, the interest expressed
in particular issues, the undertakings to utilise the outputs of the Workshop in day to day activities, and the request to disseminate the report of the workshop, indicated an active and concrete involvement
on the part of the participants.
Participants expressed the view that it is of paramount importance to continue with similar and other international joint activities promoting effective and
human rights oriented criminal justice approaches as well as international co-operation between the countries and among the international organisations active in the region.
JUNE 19, 1996
8:00-8:30 am : Registration
8:30-9:00 : Chairperson: Dr. P.
Molutsi, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Botswana
Welcome Address: Prof. T.
Tlou, Vice Chancellor, University of Botswana
Official Opening of the Workshop: The Hon.
H.P.K. Kedikilwe, Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration
SESSION 1 : CRIME IN PERSPECTIVE 1
9:30-10:45 : This
plenary session will present an overview of crime and social change in Southern Africa with particular reference to organised crime, corruption and drug trafficking.
Chairperson: Mr H.F. Woltring, Director, UNICRI.
Keynote Speaker 1: The Southern African Perspective: Prof. D.
Nsereko, Department of Law, University of Botswana, Gaborone.
Keynote Speaker 2: The
Botswana Perspective: Mr T.M. Katlholo, Deputy Director, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime,
10:45-11:45 : Small group practical training session on methods of organised crime
11:45-12:30 pm: Plenary session - Rapporteurs from small groups report back and discussion.
SESSION 2 : CRIME IN PERSPECTIVE 2
2:00-3:15 : This plenary session will
present an overview of urban criminality with particular reference to violence against women and problems of youth, including street children.
Chairperson: Prof. U.
Zvekic, Research Co-ordinator, UNICRI.
Keynote Speaker 1: The Southern African Perspective: Mr E.
Magade, Lecturer, Department of Procedural Law, University of Zimbabwe, Harare.
Keynote Speaker 2: The Botswana Perspective: Ms U. Dow,
Director, Metlhaetsile Women's Information
3:15-4:15 : Small group practical training session on the relevance of violence to crime.
4:45-5:30 : Plenary session - Rapporteurs from
small groups report back and discussion.
JUNE 20, 1996
SESSION 3 : CRIMINAL JUSTICE, CRIME
PREVENTION AND THE TREATMENT OF OFFENDERS
8:30-9:45 am : This plenary session will focus on problems and issues faced by contemporary systems of Criminal Justice in Southern Africa and the
extent to which they can manage increasing rates of crime and changing patterns of criminality.
R.C. Nzerem, Assistant Director, Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division, Commonwealth
Keynote Speaker 1: The Southern African Perspective: Prof. L. P.
Shaidi, Department of Criminal and Civil Law, University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
Keynote Speaker 2: The
Botswana Perspective: Mr A.B. Tafa, Deputy Attorney General, Attorney-General's Chambers,
9:45-10:45 : Small group practical training session on policy application to crime.
Plenary session - Rapporteurs from small groups report back and discussion.
SESSION 4 : RESEARCH AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS ON CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
1:30-2:45 : This plenary
session will focus on the problems in developing relevant research and information systems that can be used in constructing effective social policies for the prevention of crime and the treatment of
offenders within a context of national development.
Chairperson: Prof. E.
Kibuka, Deputy Director, UNAFRI
Keynote Speaker 1: The Southern African Perspective: Prof. U.
Zvekic, Research Co-ordinator,
Keynote Speaker 2: The Botswana Perspective: Mr D. Macdonald, Senior Lecturer, and Mr L.
Molamu, Head, Department of Sociology, University of Botswana, Gaborone.
2:45-3:45 : Small group
practical training session on statistical records and their application to crime.
4:15-5:00 : Plenary session - Rapporteurs from small groups report back and discussion.
JUNE 21, 1996
SESSION 5 : IMPLICATIONS FOR AFRICA OF THE NINTH UN CONGRESS ON THE PREVENTION OF CRIME AND THE TREATMENT
Chairperson: Mr L.
Molamu, Head, Department of Sociology, University of Botswana.
8:00-9:15 am : Keynote Speaker 1: Mr H. F.
Woltring, Director, and Prof. U. Zvekic, Research Co-ordinator, UNICRI, Rome.
Keynote Speaker 2: Prof. E.
Kibuka, Deputy Director, UNAFRI, Kampala.
9:15-10:15 : Small group practical training session on crime prevention and treatment of offenders.
10:45-11:45 pm: Plenary session - Rapporteurs from small groups report back and discussion.
11:45-12:15 : Rounding up - UNICRI; Department of Sociology, University of Botswana; UNAFRI and
12:15-12:30 : Official Closing of the Workshop: Dr. P.
Molutsi, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Botswana.
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)
Via Giulia 52, 00186 Rome, Italy
H.F. Woltring Director
U. Zvekic Research Co-ordinator
A. Patrignani Associate Research Officer
Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HX, England
R.C. Nzerem Assistant Director, Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division
United Nations African
Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI)
Box 10590, Kampala, Uganda
L.P. Shaidi Associate Professor, Department of Criminal and Civil Law, University of
Dar-es-Salaam, P.O. Box 35093, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
E. Kibuka Deputy Director
University of Botswana (UB)
Private Bag 0022, Gaborone, Botswana
L. Molamu Head,
Department of Sociology (now at Department of Sociology, University of South Africa, P.O. Box 392, Pretoria 0001, South Africa)
D. Macdonald Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology
D.D. Nsereko Professor, Department of Law
I. Malila Lecturer, Department of Sociology
A. Rwomire Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Work
L.K. Mwansa Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Work
G.C. Mphinyane Chief Security Officer, University of Botswana
G. Mookodi Lecturer, Department of Sociology
Department of Police
Private Bag 0012, Gaborone, Botswana
Senior Assistant Commissioner, Commander of the Northern Police Division
A.P. Harry Senior Assistant Commissioner, Commander of the Southern Police Division
V. Ghanie Assistant Superintendent, Crime
Prevention Co-ordinator, Criminal Investigation Department
Botswana Defence Force
Private Bag X06, Gaborone, Botswana
W.A. Jansen, Major
P.F. Magosi, Captain
Private Bag 0020, Gaborone, Botswana
A.B. Tafa Deputy Attorney General
S.B. Tiroyakgosi Senior State Counsel, Prosecution Division
M.F. Ramokhwa State Counsel, Prosecution Division
Department of Prisons and Rehabilitation
Private Bag 0020, Gaborone, Botswana
H. Kau Head, Prisons' Administration and Rehabilitation
B. Lekoma Senior Superintendent, Commanding Officer District No. 1
S. Mokgwathi Assistant Superintendent, Head, Prisons Research and Statistics Unit
Department of Immigration and Citizenship
P.O. Box 942, Gaborone, Botswana
I.M. Zebe Head of Division, Investigation and Repatriation
Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC)
Private Bag 00344, Gaborone Botswana
T. Katlholo Deputy Director
K. Moloko Senior Investigator
J. M. Seitshiro Investigator
Customary Courts Commissioner
Department of Tribal Administration, Private Bag 0041, Gaborone, Botswana
P.D. Matenge Commissioner
Metlhaetsile Women's Information Centre
Private Bag 42, Mochudi, Botswana
U. Dow Director
Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, P.O. Box 402, Maseru 100, Lesotho
T. Mohlabane Director, Probation Unit
T. Nomngcongo Senior Resident Magistrate
Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Community Development and Social Welfare, Lilongwe, Malawi
C. Mwalambula Chief, Superintendent of Police
I.N.K. Nyasulu Director of Public Prosecution
Republic of South Africa
V.P. Pikoli Advisor to the Minister of Justice, Department of Justice, Private Bag X276, Pretoria 0001, Republic of
I. de Vries Manager: Research, Division National Standards and Management Services, South African Police Service, P.O. Box X94, Pretoria 0001, Republic of South Africa
Deputy Director International Relations, Department of Correctional Services, Private Bag X136, Pretoria 0001, Republic of South Africa
M.P Sello Commander, Zonderwater Prison Service, Department of
Correctional Services, Private Bag X136, Pretoria 0001, Republic of South Africa
P.O. Box 49, Mbabane, Swaziland
S.K. Ndlovu Superintendent of Police
L. Zwane Police Officer
R.E. Chitoba Office of the Inspector-General, P.O. Box 50103, Lusaka, Zambia
M. Mukelabai Senior State Advocate, Directorate of Public Prosecution,
Ministry of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 50106, Ridgeway, Lusaka, Zambia
L. Ndlovu Assistant Commissioner of Police, P.O. Box 8028, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe
E. Magade Lecturer,
Department of Procedural Law, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe