International Criminology World

World : Africa : Zambia
 
Zambia

The indigenous hunter-gatherer occupants of Zambia began to be displaced or absorbed by more advanced migrating tribes about 2,000 years ago. The major waves of Bantu-speaking immigrants began in the 15th century, with the greatest influx between the late 17th and early 19th centuries. They came primarily from the Luba and Lunda tribes of southern Zaire and northern Angola but were joined in the 19th century by Ngoni peoples from the south. By the latter part of that century, the various peoples of Zambia were largely established in the areas they currently occupy.

Except for an occasional Portuguese explorer, the area lay untouched by Europeans for centuries. After the mid-19th century, it was penetrated by Western explorers, missionaries, and traders. David Livingstone, in 1855, was the first European to see the magnificent waterfalls on the Zambezi River. He named the falls after Queen Victoria, and the Zambian town near the falls is named after him.

In 1888, Cecil Rhodes, spearheading British commercial and political interests in Central Africa, obtained a mineral rights concession from local chiefs. In the same year, Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe, respectively) were proclaimed a British sphere of influence. Southern Rhodesia was annexed formally and granted self-government in 1923, and the administration of Northern Rhodesia was transferred to the British colonial office in 1924 as a protectorate.

In 1953, both Rhodesias were joined with Nyasaland (now Malawi) to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Northern Rhodesia was the center of much of the turmoil and crisis that characterized the federation in its last years. At the core of the controversy were insistent African demands for greater participation in government and European fears of losing political control.

A two-stage election held in October and December 1962 resulted in an African majority in the legislative council and an uneasy coalition between the two African nationalist parties. The council passed resolutions calling for Northern Rhodesia's secession from the federation and demanding full internal self-government under a new constitution and a new national assembly based on a broader, more democratic franchise. On December 31, 1963, the federation was dissolved, and Northern Rhodesia became the Republic of Zambia on October 24, 1964.

At independence, despite its considerable mineral wealth, Zambia faced major challenges. Domestically, there were few trained and educated Zambians capable of running the government, and the economy was largely dependent on foreign expertise. Abroad, three of its neighbors--Southern Rhodesia and the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola--remained under white-dominated rule. Rhodesia's white-ruled government unilaterally declared independence in 1965. In addition, Zambia shared a border with South African-controlled South-West Africa (now Namibia). Zambia's sympathies lay with forces opposing colonial or white-dominated rule, particularly in Southern Rhodesia. During the next decade, it actively supported movements such as the Union for the Total Liberation of Angola (UNITA), the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC), and the South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO).

Conflicts with Rhodesia resulted in the closing of Zambia's borders with that country and severe problems with international transport and power supply. However, the Kariba hydroelectric station on the Zambezi River provided sufficient capacity to satisfy the country's requirements for electricity. A railroad to the Tanzanian port of Dar Es Salaam, built with Chinese assistance, reduced Zambian dependence on railroad lines south to South Africa and west through an increasingly troubled Angola.

By the late 1970s, Mozambique and Angola had attained independence from Portugal. Zimbabwe achieved independence in accordance with the 1979 Lancaster House agreement, but Zambia's problems were not solved. Civil war in the former Portuguese colonies generated refugees and caused continuing transportation problems. The Benguela Railroad, which extended west through Angola, was essentially closed to traffic from Zambia by the late 1970s. Zambia's strong support for the ANC, which had its external headquarters in Lusaka, created security problems as South Africa raided ANC targets in Zambia.

In the mid-1970s, the price of copper, Zambia's principal export, suffered a severe decline worldwide. Zambia turned to foreign and international lenders for relief, but as copper prices remained depressed, it became increasingly difficult to service its growing debt. By the mid-1990s, despite limited debt relief, Zambia's per capita foreign debt remained among the highest in the world.

Today, Zambia is a republic governed by a president and a unicameral national assembly. After 2 decades of one-party rule, free and fair multiparty elections in November 1991 resulted in the victory of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) and the election of President Frederick J.T. Chiluba, a former trade unionist. In 1996 elections, President Chiluba was reelected. On December 27, Levy Mwanawasa of the MMD was elected president, and his party won 69 out of 150 seats in the National Assembly. The MMD's use of government resources, including the state-owned media, raised questions over the fairness of the elections. The voting and counting processes generally were transparent, and there were no reports of violence or overt intimidation during the elections. Although noting general transparency during the voting, domestic and international observer groups cited irregularities in the registration process and problems in the tabulation of the elections. Opposition parties further alleged that significant rigging took place during the elections; however, such allegations were not proven by year's end 2001. Three opposition parties reportedly planned to challenge the elections in court; however, no challenge was initiated by year's end 2001. Mwanawasa was expected to be sworn in on January 2, 2002. The Constitution mandates an independent judiciary, and the Government generally respected this provision in practice; however, the judicial system is hampered by lack of resources and inefficiency.

 

SOCIO-ECONOMIC SYSTEM

The Government continued its free market economic reform program. Economic performance improved, with a growth rate of 4 percent through much of the year. The annual inflation rate declined from 35 percent to 17 percent during the latter half of the year. Balance of payments support by foreign donors continued as a result of greater government attention to governance issues and the privatization of the mines. Approximately 80 percent of the country's population of an estimated 10.3 million live in extreme poverty.

 

INCIDENCE OF CRIME

The crime rate in Zambia is low compared to industrialized countries. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. In the UN reports, murders are referred to as "intentional homicides." Aggravated assaults are referred to as "major assaults," and larcenies are referred to as "thefts." According to the United Nations Seventh Annual Survey on Crime, crime recorded in police statistics shows the crime rate for the combined total of all Index crimes in Zambia to be 579.7, per 100,000 inhabitants in 2000. This compares with 1951.92 for Japan (country with a low crime rate) and 4123.97 for USA (country with high crime rate). For intentional homicides, the rate in 2000 was 7.89 for Zambia, 0,.50 for Japan, and 5.51 for USA. For major assaults, the rate in 2000 was 219.08 for Zambia, compared with 34.04 for Japan, and 323.62 for USA. (Note these data for Japan and Zambia are for total recorded assaults, since Japan did not report a figure for major assaults.) For rapes, the rate in 2000 was 2.97 for Zambia, 1.78 for Japan, and 32.05 for USA. For robberies, the rate in 2000 was 26.72 for Zambia, 4.07 for Japan, and 144.92 for USA. For automobile theft, the rate in 2000 was 7.84 for Zambia, 243.81 for Japan, and 414.17 for USA. The rate of burglaries for 2000 was 97.68 for Zambia, 233.45 for Japan, and 414.17 for USA. The rate for thefts in 2000 was 217.52 for Zambia, compared with 1434.27 for Japan and 2475.27 for USA. (Note that USA data were those reported to INTERPOL for year 2000, since USA has not yet reported this data to UN.)

 

TRENDS IN CRIME

Between 1998 and 2000 the rate for all recorded Index offenses decreased from 665.7 to 579.7 per 100,000 in Zambia, a decrease of 12.9%. The rate of intentional homicide decreased from 9.02 to 7.89, a decrease of 12.5%. The rate for major assaults decreased from 233.46 to 219.08, a decrease of 6.2%. The rate of rape increased from 2.72 to 2.97, an increase of 9.2%. The rate for robberies decreased from 35.09 to 26.72 per 100,000, a decrease of 23.9%. The rate for automobile theft increased from 6.78 to 7.84, an increase of 15.6%. The rate of burglaries decreased from 117.39 to 97.68, a decrease of 16.8%. Thefts decreased from 261.24 to 217.52, a decrease of 16.7%.

 

 

POLICE

The police, divided into regular and paramilitary units operating under the Ministry of Home Affairs, have primary responsibility for maintaining law and order. The Zambia Security and Intelligence Service, under the Office of the President, is responsible for intelligence and internal security. Police continued to commit numerous, and at times serious, human rights abuses.

Police reportedly committed several extrajudicial killings during the year 2001. At Chikankata police post on August 24, two police officers beat to death Lameck Siamapande, who was in police custody on suspicion of theft. On September 3, the two officers were arrested following calls for their arrest from the Permanent Human Rights Commission (PHRC) and the Young Women's Christian Association. The police officers remained in detention pending trial at year's end 2001.

In August a police officer was accused of shooting and killing three teachers while he was off duty. AFRONET, the local human rights nongovernmental organization (NGO), demanded that police investigate the case and take action against the officer. The case was investigated; however, no arrests were made by year's end 2001.

A large number of prison inmates died due to illness and harsh conditions.

In 2000 Kelvin Mushabati and Geoffrey Michelo died of suffocation after a police officer threw a tear gas canister into their prison cell. The police officer responsible for the killings was charged with murder; he remained in detention pending a trial at year's end 2001.

In August two police officers were sentenced to death for the murder of a truck driver in 1999 and to 30 months' imprisonment with hard labor for the attempted murder of a passenger in the truck.

In 1999 four gunmen shot and killed Wezi Kaunda, the son of former President Kenneth Kaunda, during an apparent carjacking in Lusaka. The Government permitted forensic specialists and a team of advisors from Scotland Yard to participate in an investigation in response to a request from the Kaunda family. Two suspects were arrested. During their trial, one of the suspects claimed that the MMD was responsible for the killing; however, a letter reportedly written by the suspect alleged that several UNIP officials were responsible. Final submissions in the case were made during the year 2001; however, no ruling was issued by year's end 2001.

The police constable who beat to death Sailas Mabvuto Lungu in 1999 remained in detention awaiting trial at year's end 2001.

No further action was taken during the year 2001 nor is any likely in the following cases from 1999: The August case of a pregnant woman who died in police custody, as a result of police abuse; and the March case of Khondwani Musukwa who died in police custody, apparently as a result of torture.

In January three police officers charged with the 1998 death in detention of Bertha Mungazila were acquitted, largely on the basis of testimony by a police pathologist who indicated that Mungazila could have died from "extreme fear of detention." The pathologist's testimony directly contradicted the findings of a coroner who, during an official inquiry into Mungazila's death, determined that Mungazila died as a result of torture.

Since 1980 more than 200 persons have been killed or injured by landmines in the country; however, there were no reports of deaths from landmines during the year 2001.

On July 6, unknown persons killed Paul Tembo, a former senior MMD official, at his home. The killing appeared to be an attempted robbery, but the attackers declined offers of money on the premises and did not take any valuables with them. Tembo's killing occurred the night before he was to testify before a tribunal convened to investigate charges of financial fraud. Tembo's testimony was expected to be highly damaging to the government ministers being investigated and, by extension, the President. The police made no arrests in connection with Tembo's killing by year's end 2001.

The conflict in Angola periodically led to armed attacks within the country's territory, which resulted in civilian deaths; in November seven citizens were killed in one of these armed attacks perpetrated by Angolan government soldiers.

Unlike in the previous year, Congolese rebels did not cross into the country and kill civilians.

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. However, there were reports that National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) rebels or Angolan government forces abducted persons, particularly young persons, for forced labor in Angola. On November 9, Angolan government troops reportedly abducted at least 50 villagers from the district of Shang'ombo after entering the country in pursuit of UNITA rebels. The Government requested that the Angolan Government return the villagers, and the villagers were returned by year's end 2001.

The Constitution prohibits such practices; however, police frequently used excessive force when apprehending, interrogating, and detaining criminal suspects or illegal immigrants. In most instances, detaining officers who beat suspects generally were not disciplined or arrested for such acts.

In January police and a neighborhood watch group beat, detained, and subsequently released with a charge of immoral behavior 11 men who were suspected of killing a man. No action reportedly was taken against the responsible officers by year's end 2001.

According to the Legal Resources Foundation, in January eight officers of the Kabwe flying squad tortured Adess Ngulube in her home and at a police station. Ngulube was beaten, pinched with pliers, and suspended with her hands and feet bound from what is locally known as "kampelwa" (the swing). The officers suspected that her husband, convicted of treason in connection with a 1997 coup attempt, had left her two rifles and a pistol that she was hiring out to criminals. The police received a search warrant and searched her home. Ngulube was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, although it is not clear that the police found any weapons at her property. No action reportedly was taken against the responsible officers by year's end 2001.

In March four Lusaka Central police officers beat and detained Godfrey Mulundano on accusations that he had stolen a police bicycle. No charges were pressed against him. One of the responsible officers was charged; however, no further action was taken by year's end 2001.

On May 5, police used tear gas to prevent forcibly persons from entering the site of a banned rally. An elderly man was struck by a car and killed as bystanders fled both the tear gas and rocks thrown by rally participants.

The police officer arrested for killing two detainees in 2000 remained in detention pending trial at year's end 2001.

There were no developments during the year 2001 in the 2000 case of a Radio Phoenix reporter who was beaten by members of the MMD while investigating reports of extortion by MMD cadres at the central market.

There was no known action taken during the year 2001, nor is any action likely to be taken, against the police responsible for torturing, beating, or abusing the persons in the following cases from 2000: The August case at the University of Zambia that followed demonstrations the day prior; the August case of Hendrix Mbumwai; and the January case of Shadreck Selemani.

There was no known action taken during the year 2001, nor is any action likely to be taken, against the police responsible for torturing, beating, or otherwise abusing the persons in the following cases from 1999: The September case of Dave Wanjeke; the September case of Benson Mwale; the June case of Cedrick Phiri; and the March case of the young man at the Woodlands Police Station.

In response to pressure from the PHRC, foreign governments, NGO's, and other human rights organizations, in May 1998, the Government agreed to initiate an independent inquiry into the torture claims of seven persons detained during the 1997 coup attempt. In August 1998, the Government established a commission of inquiry, which completed its work and submitted a report to President Chiluba in 2000. In March the Government publicly released the report and issued a response. The report detailed a pattern of widespread torture during the coup investigation and highlighted systemic problems that created a climate of impunity for torture. It made recommendations for compensation to victims, disciplinary action against members of the police force, and reforms for improvement in the administration of justice. The Government accepted the finding that torture occurred; however, it criticized the overall quality of the report because the commission did not consider the special circumstances created by the fact that a coup had been attempted. The Government decided not to compensate the victims and does not intend to implement any of the recommended disciplinary measures.

The lawsuit filed in 1999 by Dean Mung'omba claiming torture during detention in 1997 was ongoing at year's end 2001. Mung'omba had suspended action on his suit pending the Government's response to the Commission of Inquiry on Torture Allegations. Because the Government refused to compensate victims as recommended by the Commission's report, Mung'omba decided to resume action on the case.

In 1999 the Government promised to institute measures to monitor and reform police operations to ensure that civil liberties are protected. It further directed the police, prisons, and immigration departments to intensify human rights training among their officers, which has been part of their basic training since 1997. The training of new recruits continued during the year 2001, and there was greater training within the police force. The Government took no action on its statements in 1998 that it would amend the Police Act to provide for the establishment of a police authority to which members of the public could direct complaints pertaining to police harassment and abuse.

Police corruption also was a problem. There were several reports that police released prisoners in exchange for bribes of between $55 and $85 (200,000 to 300,000 kwacha). Citizens in private debt disputes often were detained by police in exchange for a portion of the payment owed. Police sometimes committed extortion at roadblocks or required document processing "fees" or gas money in order to commence investigations. The number of roadblocks was reduced nationwide in 2000 on order of the Inspector General of Police in an effort to reduce the opportunity for corruption. Police action was politicized in the delivery of authorizations for public meetings. Although such politicization decreased briefly after a court ruling, it resumed during the campaigns for the December elections.

The police investigated instances of police use of excessive force and have disciplined officers found to have committed human rights abuses. Officers who commit serious abuses sometimes are prosecuted; some have been convicted and sentenced to prison. Other cases of abuse in detention frequently go unpunished unless a NGO takes up the case on behalf of the victim. Punishment, if any, usually comes years after the abuse was committed. Authorities arrested some police officers on such criminal charges as murder and robbery. For example, in August two officers were arrested and charged with murder after they beat to death a suspect while he was in police custody. Their trial still was pending at year's end 2001. Senior government officials acknowledged the problem of police abuse and requested foreign donor assistance for training for the police. In 2000 the Government announced its intention to create a national forensic laboratory to provide the police with resources for professional investigations, and it began plans for the laboratory's establishment during the year 2001. In 1999 the High Court issued a decision banning corporal punishment in the country; however, some chiefs in Northern Province continued to use corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure in local court cases. During the year 2001, the Government made efforts to enforce the ban by publicizing it.

Human rights training for new recruits, middle ranks, and long-serving officers continued at the police academy. The training has raised police awareness of human rights; however, there was no decrease in police use of physical force to gather information from suspects.

Since 1980 more than 200 persons have been killed or injured by landmines in the country; however, there were no reports of injuries from landmines during the year 2001.

Groups of UNITA deserters and Angolan government forces entered the country and seized food and goods by force from villages. On at least one occasion, they forced young men and women to accompany them back to Angola.

The Constitution prohibits such actions; however, the Government frequently does not respect these prohibitions in practice. The law requires a search or arrest warrant before police may enter a home, except during a state of emergency. Police routinely ignored this requirement and often arrested alleged criminals at their homes without first having obtained an arrest warrant.

The Constitution grants the Drug Enforcement Commission and the Zambian Intelligence Security Service authority to wiretap telephones for probable cause. In 1996 the Inspector General of Police admitted in open court that he had ordered the illegal wiretaps of the telephones at the offices of the Post, an independent daily newspaper. The case still was pending at year's end 2001, and it is unlikely to be resolved. There were no confirmed reports of wiretaps during the year 2001; however, the opposition alleged that the Government wiretapped their telephones.

Police detained and abused relatives and associates of suspects during the year 2001.

Roundups of suspected illegal aliens in the home or workplace continued. According to the Government's Commissioner for Refugees, immigration officials are empowered under the law to conduct these roundups without a warrant.

 

DETENTION

The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention; however, the Government does not observe these prohibitions. Criminal suspects often are arrested on the basis of insubstantial evidence or uncorroborated accusations. Family members or associates of criminal suspects sometimes were detained, interrogated, and physically abused by the authorities in attempts to identify or locate suspects. In criminal cases, the law requires that a detainee be charged and brought before a magistrate within 24 hours; in practice the authorities hold most detainees for more than 1 month from commission of an offense to first appearance before a magistrate. In many cases, an additional period of 6 months elapses before a magistrate commits the defendant to the High Court for trial. Following committal, preparation of the magistrate court record for transmittal to the High Court takes months, or in some cases as long as a year. Once a case reaches the High Court for trial, court proceedings last an average of 6 months. Unlike in previous years, all 72 magistrate positions were filled during the year 2001; however, magistrates and judges went on strike in February. By law attorneys and family members are permitted access to pretrial detainees.

Police stations frequently become "debt collection centers," where police officers acting upon unofficial complaints detain debtors without charge, indefinitely, until they pay the complainants. In return the police receive a percentage of the payments.

In January police at Lusaka's Castle Police Post detained a 1-year-old girl in order to compel her parents to submit to questioning about the possible criminal activity of a relative. The child and her mother were released unconditionally after 16 hours; the child's father was detained for 4 days at the Woodlands Police Station, then released without charge.

In March police detained for approximately 2 months Kennedy Kangwa on a charge of threatening violence, then released him unconditionally. Kangwa was not given a "warn and caution statement," nor did officials inform him about the basis for the charge against him.

In March four Lusaka Central police officers beat and detained for several hours Godfrey Mulundano on accusations that he had stolen a police bicycle; he was not charged. One of the responsible officers was charged; however, no further action was taken by year's end 2001.

In June United Party for National Development President Anderson Mazoka was arrested and detained for several hours for rioting and causing malicious damage to a government vehicle in the Mkushi parliamentary by-election. In August the Director of Public Prosecutions dismissed the charge against Mazoka.

In September police arrested Emily Sikazwe, director for Women for Change, an NGO, for refusing to vacate the presidential suite at a Chipata guesthouse; however, the police commanding officer at Chipata determined that there were no grounds for the arrest and ordered the arresting officers to return Sikazwe to the guesthouse.

Authorities arrested two journalists on charges of defamation during the year 2001.

The case against four opposition cadres who were arrested in 2000 for shouting anti-MMD slogans during an election campaign was pending at year's end 2001.

In 2000 Alfred Zulu, a prominent human rights activist was detained and charged with financial fraud; however, no further action was expected against him.

Donald Phiri, who was charged with murder in 1999 following an illegal police search of his father's home, was released from detention; however, his case was ongoing at year's end 2001.

The case against Imasiku Mutangelwa, the leader of a small organization known as the Barotse Patriotic Front (BPF), was pending with the High Court at year's end 2001. Mutangelwa was sought by police for questioning in 1999, after he made statements supporting a separatist rebellion in Namibia; he was arrested and charged with belonging to an unlawful society. Mutangelwa was released on bail after his arrest, and his case was ongoing at year's end 2001.

Pretrial detention often was prolonged. The number of detainees awaiting trial in Lusaka rose from 500 to 1,000 between February and April. Approximately 1,288 of 2,251 detainees in the Lusaka region were awaiting trial at the end of 2000. In some cases defendants have been awaiting trial for as long as 4 years. There was some progress in holding trials; in past years, some defendants had waited as long as 10 years for their trials to commence. These long delays were a result of inadequate resources, inefficiency, lack of trained personnel, and broad rules of procedure that give wide latitude to prosecutors and defense attorneys to request adjournments. The High Court Commissioner can release detainees if prosecutors fail to bring the case to trial, although that did not occur in any case during the year 2001. Although there is a functioning bail system, overcrowded prisons reflect in part the large number of detainees charged with serious offenses for which bail is not granted. These include treason, murder, aggravated robbery, and violations of narcotics laws. There were no cases of "constitutional bail," which may be granted in cases in which a judge determines that the accused has been detained for an excessive period without evidence being presented against him or her. Indigent detainees and defendants rarely have the means to post bail. The Government's legal aid office is responsible for providing representation for indigent detainees and defendants in criminal or civil cases; however, in practice few receive assistance. The office had 9 attorneys and a budget of $160,000 (576,000,000 kwacha) during the year 2001.

The authorities held in detention pending deportation approximately 300 illegal immigrants, principally from neighboring countries. Because the immigration authorities lack funds for deportation, illegal immigrants sometimes are kept in prison for extended periods, sometimes for more than 5 years. There were 199 illegal immigrants in detention in Lusaka at year's end 2001.

The 1996 case involving the indefinite incarceration of three newspaper reporters on charges of contempt of the House remained pending. Although the High Court dismissed the sentences, and the three were released from custody, the Government appealed the case, seeking to reinstate detention of the reporters. The Government is unlikely to continue its appeal, primarily because two of the reporters involved in the case died.

The law prohibits government use of exile for political purposes, and the Government does not use it; however, it has used deportation and the threat of deportation for political purposes against persons whose claims to citizenship it has refused to recognize. No one was deported during the year 2001; however, Majid Ticklay, who was deported by the Government in 2000 after he wrote a letter that was published in the Post newspaper publicly urging the Asian community to unite behind one political party, remained under a deportation order.

During the year 2001, a number of citizens remained in self-imposed political exile in foreign countries, including: Liberal Progressive Front President Dr. Roger Chongwe, in Australia; Zambia Democratic Congress General Secretary Azwell Banda, in South Africa; former editor of the defunct newspaper, Confidential, Reverend Steward Mwila, in South Africa; and former President Kaunda's daughter, Catherine Mwanza, in South Africa.

 

COURTS

The legal system is based on English common law and customary law. The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the Government generally respects this provision in practice; however, the judicial system was hampered by lack of resources and inefficiency. The President nominates and the National Assembly confirms the Chief Justice and other members of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction for all legal and constitutional disputes. The High Court, which holds regular sessions in all nine provincial capitals, has authority to hear criminal and civil cases and appeals from lower courts. Magistrate courts have original jurisdiction in some criminal and civil cases; local, or customary, courts handle most civil and petty criminal cases in rural areas.

Local courts employ the principles of customary law, which vary widely throughout the country. Lawyers are barred from participating in proceedings in such courts, and there are few formal rules of procedure. Presiding judges, who usually are prominent local citizens, have substantial power to invoke customary law, render judgments regarding marriages, divorces, inheritances, other civil proceedings, and rule on minor criminal matters. Judgments often are not in accordance with the Penal Code. For example, they tend to discriminate against women in matters of inheritance.

Trials in magistrate courts are public, and defendants have the opportunity to confront their accusers and present witnesses. However, many defendants lack the resources to retain a lawyer, and the limited resources of the Government's legal aid department mean that many citizens entitled to legal aid find that it is unavailable. Courts are congested, and there are long delays in trials while the accused are in custody. The Magistrates and Judges' Association made an effort to expedite the process of court appearances in 2000 by setting up a fast-track court that could quickly hear minor, uncomplicated cases. During the year 2001, this mechanism was suspended during a strike by the Magistrates and Judges' Association but resumed upon termination of the strike. The fast-track courts reportedly have speeded up the process and decreased the number of persons in pretrial detention; however, no figures were available to support these assertions.

Courts continued to act independently and at times made statements critical of the Government. For example, in April a judge ordered the police to provide security for a rally that the police initially had banned, which reinforced established procedures under which police may grant or deny permission for organizations to conduct public events. However, after an initial period of compliance with the order, the police again frequently banned political gatherings. In May a judge granted an injunction to 22 members of the ruling MMD barring the party from expelling these members because of their opposition to the proposed presidential third-term amendment. In September a judge granted an injunction to an elections NGO that required the state-owned broadcaster, ZNBC, to air the NGO's prepaid programming; ZNBC complied with the injunction.

Appeals in the cases of 59 military personnel detained during a 1997-98 state of emergency and later sentenced to death for involvement in an attempted coup were ongoing at year's end 2001.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

 

CORRECTIONS

Prison conditions are harsh and life threatening. According to official statistics, prisons designed to hold 5,330 prisoners held more than 12,741. This severe overcrowding, combined with poor sanitation, inadequate medical facilities, meager food supplies, and lack of potable water resulted in serious outbreaks of dysentery and other diseases, including tuberculosis. According to statistics released by the High Court, 204 prisoners died in prison between January and September due to illness and harsh conditions. In 1999 the Commissioner of Prisons attributed the serious overcrowding in prisons to the slow pace that the courts dispose of cases. Prison congestion began worsening starting in February when magistrates and local court justices went on strike. Women and men are held separately. Juveniles often are not held separately from adults. Pretrial detainees are not held separately from convicted prisoners.

In 1999 the Magistrates and Judges' Association of Zambia expressed its intention to undertake efforts to release all eligible detainees on bail in order to reduce prison congestion. According to the Association, Kamwala Remand Prison in Lusaka contained 636 inmates, although it had been designed to hold only 200.

In 1999 the PHRC announced that it would employ prison inspectors to ensure that inmates are kept in habitable environments. The PHRC submitted a request to the Ministry of Finance for funds to support the creation of prison inspector positions, but the request was not approved. The Government generally permits prison visits by both domestic and international NGO's and by resident foreign diplomats. Provincial human rights committees periodically inspected prison conditions. Foreign diplomats and an international human rights NGO conducted prison visits during the year 2001.

WOMEN

Domestic violence against women remained a serious problem. Wife beating and rape were widespread. Domestic assault is a criminal offense. Although the police have a Victim Support Unit (VSU) to attend to the problems of domestic assault, wife beating, mistreatment of widows by the deceased husband's relatives, and "property grabbing," in practice police often are reluctant to pursue reports of domestic violence, preferring instead to encourage a reconciliation. The Government and NGO's expressed continued concern about violence against women, and the media continued to devote considerable publicity to it during the year 2001. According to official statistics, more than 4,700 rape cases were reported to the police between 1991 and 1998. Of these, approximately 30 percent resulted in conviction and 5 percent in acquittal. The remainder of the cases either were dismissed or remain unresolved. The courts normally sentence defendants convicted of rape to hard labor. Since many rape cases were not reported to the police, the actual number is considered to be much higher.

In August young women reportedly were among a group of persons abducted by UNITA soldiers for forced labor in Angola.

Both the Constitution and the law entitle women to equality with men in most areas; however, in practice women are disadvantaged severely in formal employment and education compared with men. Married women who are employed often suffer from discriminatory conditions of service. Women have little independent access to credit facilities; in most cases, they remain dependent on their husbands who are required to cosign for loans. As a result, few women own their own homes. However, some small financial institutions reportedly allow women to sign independently for loans.

Customary law and practice also place women in a subordinate status with respect to property, inheritance, and marriage, despite constitutional and legal protections. Polygyny is permitted if the wife first agrees to it at the time of her wedding. Under the traditional customs prevalent in most ethnic groups, all rights to inherit property rest with the deceased man's family. Under the law, the children of the deceased man equally share 50 percent of an estate; the widow receives 20 percent; the man's parents receive 20 percent; and other relatives receive 10 percent. The widow's share must be divided equally with any other women who can prove a marital relationship with the deceased man, thus granting inheritance rights to other wives, mistresses, and concubines.

In practice property grabbing by the relatives of the deceased man remains widespread, although increased training of local court officials has brought about a slight decrease in the number of incidents. Ignorance of the law on the part of victims is a problem. As a result, many widows receive little or nothing from the estate. The fines that the law mandates for property grabbing are extremely low. During the year 2001, no action was taken on the Intestate Succession Act. In response to the President's criticism of property grabbing, the police, through its VSU, handled instances of property grabbing as criminal offenses.

NGO's that predominantly represented women's interests were particularly active as lobbying organizations. The Non-Governmental Organizations Coordinating Committee, an umbrella organization for women's NGO's, was influential in the Oasis Forum, formed to present an opposing view to the proposed presidential third-term constitutional amendment. Women for Change conducted a series of high profile human rights awareness programs with traditional leaders.

 

CHILDREN

The Government seeks to improve the welfare of children, but scarce resources and ineffective implementation of social programs continue to affect adversely the welfare of children. The Ministry of Sport, Youth, and Child Development, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labor, and the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services have the responsibility for improving child welfare. Education is neither compulsory nor free. The number of children enrolled in public schools at the primary levels continued to decline. A lack of adequate educational facilities and a scarcity of educational materials are problems. Some areas have established community schools that in theory are free; however, these schools have fewer resources than public schools and require contributions from parents. The number of girls and boys in primary school is approximately equal; however, fewer girls attend secondary school.

Due to poverty, both rural and urban children often work in the informal sector to help their families make ends meet. The number of street children in Lusaka increased from approximately 35,000 in 1991 to approximately 95,000 at year's end 2001, partly because of the growing number of orphans whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS. Approximately 75 percent of all households are caring for at least one orphan; these children face greater risks of child abuse, sexual abuse, and child labor. Approximately 7 percent of households are headed by children due to the death of both parents. The Government instituted programs to increase public awareness of HIV/AIDS and attempted to address the problem of child labor by establishing a child labor unit with awareness programs in 2000. Child abuse was believed to be fairly common, but no statistics were available.

The Labor Ministry and the Ministry of Community Development cooperated in establishing a child labor office to address the problem of street children; in 2000 the Government established the Child Labor Working Group. There are laws that criminalize child prostitution, pornography, and sexual exploitation of children under the age of 21. Laws against child prostitution were not enforced effectively; however, cases of child pornography and sexual exploitation generally were enforced effectively.

 

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

The Constitution prohibits trafficking of children under the age of 18, as well as trafficking in women for immoral activities; however, there are no other laws prohibiting trafficking in persons. There were some reports of trafficking of Zambian women to South Africa.

Angolan Government forces and UNITA deserters abducted citizens and forced them to accompany them back to Angola, where the abductees were forced to herd cattle, carry logistical supplies, and engage in prostitution.

When incidents have been alleged, the Government has investigated them and, in one case, tried an accused trafficker who was acquitted.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Internet research assisted by Amy Strickland

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