Rights on arrest and pre-trial detention in Africa: a Guide to international human rights standards

This publication released today by the ICJ summarizes and explains the rights of people in Africa who are suspected of or charged with a criminal offence from the time of arrest until trial, as set out in standards of the African Union and United Nations (UN).

The idea for the publication was first discussed at a regional symposium of judges that was convened by the ICJ, working together with the Southern Africa Chief Justice Forum and the Africa Judges and Jurists in Pretoria in September 2014.

The theme was carried forward to the Southern Africa Chief Justice Forum held in Victoria Falls in August 2015. The Guide builds on these two initiatives.

It is a tool for lawyers, judges, and law-makers seeking to ensure that criminal laws and practices, from arrest until trial, comply with a State’s obligations under international human rights law.

In particular, these laws and practices should be consistent with the standards set by the African Union and the United Nations.

The Guide may also be useful to people observing trials with a view to assessing their fairness in the light of international standards, or others seeking to evaluate the extent to which the country’s criminal procedure codes and practices adhere to international standards.

The Guide may also be used as an educational and training tool. Its 11 chapters each set out one or more rights relevant to the various stages and proceedings in a criminal case, indicating which African and UN standards guarantee the rights and illustrating how the rights and standards have been construed and interpreted by African and universal human rights bodies.

africa-pretrial-rights-publications-reports-thematic-reports-2016-eng (full publication, in PDF)

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