From MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – INEFFECTIVE legislation has been blamed for the threats against, intimidation and killings of witness testifying against prominent African leaders some at the International Criminal Court.
Experts raised concern these circumstances threatened the rule of law and compromise access to justice for African citizens.
According to the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), witness protection has been described as the missing cornerstone in criminal justice systems in Africa with only three African countries have institutionalised witness protection programmes.
These are Kenya, South Africa and Rwanda.
In Cape Verde, Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco and Mozambique, witness protection laws are in place, but are yet to be fully implemented. Ghana, Namibia, Tanzania and Nigeria have draft witness protection laws awaiting enactment.
In countries like Burundi, specific provisions have been made within the penal code to provide protection to witnesses.
“Protecting witnesses is expensive, and governments have competing financial obligations,” said Jemima Njeri, Senior Researcher,
Transnational Threats and International Crimes Division at ISS.
– <strong>CAJ News</strong><em>