Zambia's Criminal Justice System and its impact on human rights
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This essay endeavours to look at the impact that the criminal justice system has had on the Human Rights of individual beings in Zambia. The study stems from the way the police have been carrying out their duties as regards procedure for arrest, respecting the fundamental rights that an individual has at the time of his arrest and the bringing of suspects before the courts of Law. It is important to state that the police is an institution dressed with a lot of power in order to enable it carry out its functions of protecting the citizens. In Zambia, the police have failed to uphold the fundamental rights of individual beings and it is seen as one of the perpetrators of Human Rights abuse. This is so because the police do not follow procedure in effecting arrests and they beat suspects even when it is not required that reasonable force be used to effect the arrest. The police take away people's personal liberty even where one has not committed an offence. This usually happens in situations in which a criminal suspect runs away and the police detain one of that suspects relatives for a crime which themselves have created and is not found in the penal laws of Zambia known as detention to help the police with further investigations. Even where the suspect has not run away, the police would still detain someone with a view that he would be released after the other person hands himself over to the police. The police have continued to abuse people's rights by torturing them in order to obtain evidence. This illegal method of obtaining evidence is contrary to the provisions of the constitution, which requires that no human being should be subjected to torture. People are continuously arrested for offences that don't border on the criminal aspect of the law but are purely civil. To correct this, the courts however have been using certain remedies such as the granting of damages as compensation for the injury that one might have suffered. The courts would also accord the accused person a Habeas Corpus hearing at the end of which 'the detaining authorities would be compelled to bring the person to court or release him if it is proved that he has been incarcerated for a long time without trial.Chapter one of this essay looks at the rights that an individual accused of an offence is entitled to.The second chapter looks at the institution of the police, its conduct in carrying out its duties and the impact that this has had on Human Rights.The third chapter looks at the role the courts have been playing in Zambia's criminal justice system with particular focus on its protective role of the fundamental rights of an accused person.The fourth chapter concludes the essay and therein are the recommendations that should be followed if there is to be a proper criminal justice system.
- Law