Private prosecutions in Zimbabwe Victim participation in the criminal justice system
Mujuzi, Jamil Ddamulira
MetadataShow full item record
Two recent developments have changed the face of private prosecutions in Zimbabwe. Firstly, the prosecutor general had to decide: (1) whether private companies may institute private prosecutions; and (2) whether the prosecutor-general, if he had declined to prosecute, was obliged to issue a certificate to a crime victim to institute a private prosecution. Both questions were answered in the negative. Victims of crime challenged this in court and the Supreme Court ruled that the prosecutor-general is obliged to issue a certificate should he decline to prosecute. In response, the prosecutor-general adopted two strategies: (1) to apply to the Constitutional Court against the Supreme Court’s ruling that he is obliged to issue such a certificate; and (2) to have the relevant sections of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) amended so that the law clearly states that he is not obliged to issue such a certificate, and that companies are not permitted to institute private prosecutions. This article argues that despite these recent amendments to the CPEA, there are cases where the prosecutor-general may be compelled to issue a certificate to a crime victim to institute a private prosecution. These developments are important for South Africa, as a South African non-governmental organisation has petitioned the courts and argued that a law prohibiting it from instituting private prosecutions is discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional. South African courts may find Zimbabwean case law helpful in resolving this issue.