Zimbabwean Criminal Justice

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ZIMBABWEAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE

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Zimbabwe
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ZIMBABWE CRIMINAL DEFENSE MANUAL 1. Introduction 2. Defense Lawyer's Role and Responsibilities 3. Pre-Trial Matters 4. Jurisdiction of Courts 5. Preparing for Trial 6. Trials 7. Rules of Evidence 8. Criminal Law Code 9. Verdict 10. Sentence 11. Record of Proceedings 12. Appeals 13. Automatic Review and Scrutiny 14. Miscellaneous Matters------------------------------------------------- CODES * Zimbabwe Legal Aid Act * The Constitution of Zimbabwe * Zimbabwe Criminal Code------------------------------------------------- LEGAL RESOURCES * Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa * African Human Rights Case Law Analyser * Zimbabwe Country Summary Card------------------------------------------------- LEGAL TRAINING RESOURCE CENTER * eLearning Courses for Zimbabwean lawyers| -------------------------------------------------

Background
After 1980 Zimbabwe was widely regarded as a model African democracy. However, since 2000, the country has been engulfed in a crippling political, economic, and humanitarian crisis that has virtually wiped out the progress made over the previous two decades. An estimated 3.5 million Zimbabweans have fled the country over the past seven years. Zimbabwe once boasted one of Africa's most sophisticated and developed legal communities. However, the country's justice system was adversely affected by the political meltdown, with lawyers and judges fleeing the country by the hundreds. The country's prisons swelled and the pre-trial detention population soared. During this period of turmoil, torture became widely accepted as a legitimate tool for police investigation and judicial sanctions. A total system collapse resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe on a massive scale. Zimbabwe is divided into 8 provinces and 2 cities with provincial status (Harare and Bulawayo). The current Legal Aid Directorate (LAD) is staffed by 15 lawyers, all based in Harare, representing the needs of Zimbabwe's 12 million citizens. LAD focuses almost exclusively on civil cases. As a result, defendants receive legal aid only in the most serious of cases. -------------------------------------------------

Type of System
Zimbabwe's legal system is a common-law system based on Roman-Dutch law but has been influenced by the system of nearbySouth Africa. There are four justices on the Zimbawbe Supreme Court and they have original jurisdiction over fundamental rights cases under the Zimbabwe Constitution. -------------------------------------------------

Sources of Defendants' Rights
Chapter Three of the Constitution of Zimbabwe is the starting point for defendants' rights in Zimbabwe. Article 13 provides for notice of charges as and provides that an individual may consult an attorney at their own expense [1]. An individual who is detained must be brought to trial within a "reasonable time". [2] "[T}orture ... inhuman or degrading punishment or other such treatment" are forbidden under Section 15 of the Constitution[3]. Article 18 sets for specific provisions for criminal cases including the presumption of innocence, a fair trial, and the right to silence. -------------------------------------------------

Defendants' Rights
Pre-Trial
In order to make an arrest, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed. A warrant is required unless the defendant has committed or attempted to commit the crime in the presence of a police officer. If arrested with a warrant the defendant must be brought to a police station or charging station as soon as possible. A defendant may be detained for no more than 48 hours unless a magistrate authorizes an extension of the detention. There are special provisions for prolonged detention...
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