HRC calls upon the Zambia Police Service to refrain from the practice of delaying to charge and take suspects to court or grant them bond in accordance with the law
The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) calls upon the Zambia Police Service to refrain from the practice of delaying to charge and take suspects to court or grant them bond in accordance with the law.
The prolonged detention of suspects without any charge or trial is a violation of the right to secure the protection of the law as enshrined under Article 18 of the Constitution, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia and must be redressed without any further delay.
Suspects should be informed of the nature of the offence they are charge with, formerly arrested and be taken to court within 24 hours as reasonably practicable as prescribed under section 33 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia.
Failure to charge and taken suspects to court within the legally prescribed period constitutes arbitrary detention and a violation of his right to liberty and protection of the law as enshrined under Articles 13 and 18 of the Constitution, Chapter 1 of the laws of Zambia.
The Commission wishes to put it on record that the continued detention of any suspect without charge or trial violates a wide range of human rights such as the right to liberty, the right to secure the protection of the law which includes the right to be presumed innocent, the right to be informed of the nature of the offence charged, the right to a trial, among others.
Continued detention of suspects without charge or trial is also unlawful and may open the State to lawsuits by the affected persons for damages for unlawful detention or imprisonment. Further the Commission wishes to state (as has been stated before) that it is not within the province of the Police Service to detain suspects for or ostensibly for the purpose of carrying out investigations. Investigations should be merely but a prelude to effecting an arrest prior to a suspect being taken to court to face charges leveled against the suspect.
It is the expectation of the Commission that the Law Enforcement Agents and Institutions will in discharging their duties demonstrate unwavering commitment to upholding respect for the Rule of Law, Constitutionalism and Human Rights without any form of discrimination.
Mudford Z. Mwandenga
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION