Improving pre-trial justice in Malawi
Specialised training for magistrates, prosecutors and others
While Malawi has strengthened its judicial policies in recent years, it still struggles to implement and enforce them efficiently and effectively – which is why around 100 Malawian justice officials, including magistrates and prosecutors, are currently undergoing specialised legal training focussed on improving the administration of pre-trial justice.
Offered by faculty members of Chancellor College, University of Malawi, in co-operation with trainers from the Institute for Professional Legal Training, South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), the two-week training has been designed to address substantial challenges besetting the Malawian pre-trial detention system and manifesting in substantial rights violations, such as dangerous overcrowding in prisons and the incarceration of detainees for many years without trial.
“In many instances, Malawi’s laws – particularly recent enactments and amendments – provide for fair and proper administration of justice, respectful of the rights of the accused,” said Nicole Fritz, Director of SALC. “But theses laws, as stated, are often not what are implemented and enforced. The hope is that the training can go some way to addressing this gap.”
The training is being supported by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), the Open Society Foundations Human Rights Initiative (OSF HRI) and the Democratic Governance Programme of the European Union and is offered with the endorsement of the government of Malawi.
The training, which is being run in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu, follows a very successful pilot programme offered in 2012 and uses a detailed and updated manual of relevant Malawi law and practice, which has been produced to support the training.