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Reconstruction of the New Criminal Justice System in the People's Republic of Mozambique

NCJ Number
STAAT UND RECHT Volume: 28 Issue: 5 Dated: (1979) Pages: 435-444
D Joseph
Date Published
10 pages
The steps in reconstructing a new justice system in Mozambique after overthrow of the colonial yoke in the 1960's and 70's are outlined.
The prime mover in establishing a new justice system has been the Frelimo, a marxist political party which established a justice study commission already in the late sixties. The goal of judicial reorganization is to make the justice apparatus accessible and comprehensible to ordinary citizens. The major change underway is to make the courts responsible to the people's assembly in a revised code of judicial procedures simple enough for the generally illiterate population to understand. The highest State power is the assembly, which coordinates activities of all other agencies and even selects judges. The Frelimo has a leading role in the justice system: the President of the Republic is also president of the Frelimo and President of the Supreme Court and Attorney General of the Republic. Courts are provincial, district, and local bodies, with the Tribunal Popular Supremo serving as the highest court. Judges are selected by the assembly after a careful background study of behavior to establish suitability. Efforts are being made to teach judges to read and write, as illiteracy is common even among judges. The justice system is designed to promote unity of the population in Mozambique. Instead of being guided by the traditions and predominant views of the local population, elected local judges are to decide cases according to the underlying principles of socialist society. Furthermore, identical legal measures are to be applied throughout the country for identical situations. General principles of socialist States are the basis for the new laws: (e.g.,) the right of citizens to bring complaints to court, and the stipulation that arrest and conviction of citizens occur in accordance with existing law. The Supreme Court consists of the president and vice-president of the country, 6 judges chosen by the Minister of Justice, and 18 elected judges. Appeals cases are heard by separate divisions of the Supreme Court, with the plenum establishing uniform legal directions and providing guidelines for lower courts. Provincial courts consist of one judge chosen by the Justice Minister and four elected judges. District courts also combine one appointed judge with several elected judges, while local courts consist only of elected judges (three to five). The public prosecutor system is hierarchical and makes up one of the two divisions of the Justice Ministry. Notes are supplied. -- in German.


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