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Publication . Article . 2020

The protection of vulnerable witnesses during criminal trials in Malawi: Addressing resource challenges

Gift Dorothy Makanje;
Open Access
Published: 01 Jan 2020 Journal: African Human Rights Law Journal, volume 20 (issn: 1609-073X, eissn: 1996-2096, Copyright policy )
Publisher: Academy of Science of South Africa
Abstract
It is widely acknowledged that crime victims and witnesses for a long time have not been treated fairly in most criminal justice systems. In a bid to remedy this situation, particularly with respect to vulnerable witnesses, most common law jurisdictions have introduced innovative procedural and evidential law changes, which include screening the witness from the defendant's sight; prohibiting the defendant from personally cross-examining the witness; and restrictions on improper cross-examination, including evidence relating to sexual history. Virtually all these measures have underpinning resource requirements. Presently Malawi does not afford adequate protection to vulnerable witnesses. The article argues that the protection of vulnerable witnesses during trial in a resource-poor nation such as Malawi lies in the hands of judges. While on the face of it Malawi's lack of resources may appear to be an obstacle to the protection of vulnerable witnesses, the system has a wealth of alternative options that may be used for their benefit. All that is needed is for judges to proactively utilise the available alternatives to the benefit of such witnesses as well as continuing training and education to reinforce their competencies in this regard.
Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Resource (biology) Law Business Environmental planning

ACM Computing Classification System: ComputingMilieux_LEGALASPECTSOFCOMPUTING

Subjects

Law, Social Sciences (miscellaneous), criminal justice, vulnerable witnesses, Malawi, procedural safeguards, resource restraints

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