Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) says it will engage the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to give a practice direction on Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code to have minor cases tried in informal settings.
CCJP programme manager Enock Kamundi said this on Wednesday in Salima during a day-long training workshop for journalists from Nkhotakota and Kasungu districts.
The commission is running a 100 000 euros (about K84 million) 13-month Restorative Justice Project which seeks to decongest the country’s prisons.
Kamundi observed that the law is vague; hence, it is likely to compromise the administration of adult diversion, which is the referral of petty cases from the formal criminal justice system with or without conditions to extra-judicial programmes.
“The rationale of the project is to reduce the backlog of petty cases in courts. We want to ensure that such cases are heard through our informal settings,” he said.
But State advocate Hannah Supply, who was the workshop’s facilitator, said the situation is not worrisome, arguing that there are existing legislations addressing the matter.
The project is being supported by the European Union.