The Juvenile criminal justice system in Zambia vis-a-vis the international protection of children's rights
Mumba, Davis Chali
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation examines the juvenile criminal justice system in Zambia vis-à-vis the international protection of the children’s rights. The study examines and analyses the existing laws and ascertains the extent to which Zambian laws are compliant with the international standards set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other relevant international legal instruments in terms of the appropriate infrastructural facilities, the best practices and procedures for dealing with children in conflict with the law. The research is premised on the notion that children are a special group of people with their own special needs and as such they require special treatment. Therefore, children entangled in the criminal process must be separated from adults at all times. The most important consideration being the enhancement and protection of the best interests of the child.The study evaluates the procedures that are adopted by various criminal justice agencies in dealing with children in conflict with the law. It identifies the weaknesses and challenges that institutions such as the police, prisons, courts, Legal Aid Board, the Social Welfare Department, Nakambala Approved School and Katombora Reformatory School face in the delivery of juvenile justice. The research shows that the participation of children in criminal proceedings in Zambia presents particular challenges because of the inadequate and poor state of the infrastructure; and the improper procedures adopted in dealing with children in conflict with the law.The study shows that the laws that govern the administration of the juvenile justice system in Zambia are adequate and in most instances do conform with acceptable international standards. What seems to be lacking, however, is compliance with the relevant provisions of the Juveniles Act, the CRC and the Beijing Rules in dealing with juvenile offenders. Consequently, the non-compliance has resulted in the unfair and ill-treatment of the children in conflict with the law. The dissertation concludes that there is an urgent need to establish special courts, special police units and build appropriate infrastructure which will be for the sole use of children in conflict with the law. It further argues for the special training of officers who will specifically deal with children’s cases. These officers may include magistrates, police officers (both investigation and prosecution officers), Social Welfare Officers and the officers in charge of Nakambala Approved School and Katombora Reformatory. Furthermore, the study argues for the de-linkage of Katombora Reformatory School from the office of the Commissioner of Prisons. It also argues for increased material and human resource allocation by the Government to the relevant criminal justice agencies.The research implores the Government of Zambia to learn from Zimbabwe some of the best practices and policies in dealing with children in conflict with the law such as the establishment of children’s courts, the requirement for the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before prosecuting a child or a young person. It is hoped that the recommendations contained in this study will be useful in helping to reform the juvenile justice system in Zambia.
- Law