CSPRI reports on constitutionality in five countries

To what extent do countries make constitutional rights real in law? CSPRI has published reports on 5 African countries as well as a comparative report on the question of the extent to which countries ensure their laws are in accordance with their recently adopted constitutions.

In many African countries, criminal procedure legislation and prison laws were adopted in the middle of the twentieth century and have not been substantially updated since then. The second half of the century saw the adoption of several international and regional human rights treaties enshrining, among others, rights for arrested, accused and detained persons. Many African countries also underwent constitutional reform at the end of the century, with their new constitutions often granting extensive rights to detained and accused persons.

CSPRI therefore sought to understand (i) whether the new constitutional provisions complied with international standards, and (ii) whether subordinate laws (mostly focusing on criminal law, criminal procedure law and prisons legislation) were in line with constitutional provisions relating to procedural safeguards for arrested and detained persons. To investigate these questions, CSPRI identified five countries representing Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone African jurisdictions that have common law and civil law traditions. They are Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia.

This series of research reports analyse to what extent these new rights-driven constitutions incorporated the rights of arrested, accused and detained persons recognised at an international level and whether subordinate legislation has been reviewed to ensure its compliance with these constitutions and international human rights law.

The series of reports will be of value to those seeking to examine specific issues in further detail, and provide a starting point for individuals or organisations wishing to undertake constitutional litigation in the jurisdictions under review, particularly to ensure that the rights of arrested, accused and detained persons are upheld before domestic, regional and international courts.

The five country reports analyse the specific situations of Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire (available both in French and in English), Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia.

The comparative report examines the situation in all five countries with the aim to provide a broad overview of the situation of the different countries and jurisdictions under review.


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