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Pre-Trial Detention Day In Africa: CNDH Organizes A Series Of Awarness- Rasing Activities


Organized by the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) and its regional commissions, in cooperation with various partners, the commemoration of the Pre-trial Detention Day in Africa will be taking place on April 25th, 2017. The commemoration will include several activities, with the view to putting focus on pre-trial detention challenges in the Moroccan judicial system.

Conferences, round tables, visits to prisons and media programs in the field will contribute to the public debates on pre-trial detention, which is one of the main causes of prison overcrowding. According to the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration, 40% of detainees are in pre-trial detention. Thus, more efforts should be exerted by various stakeholders to fight this phenomenon.

This event is an opportunity, for all concerned stakeholders, to discuss the main constraints causing this excessive use of this measure described as “exceptional” by the legislator. It mainly affects prisoners awaiting trial and the rights of the entire prison population in general.

Participants will also address alternative measures that may mitigate the excessive use of pre-trial detention. This would strengthen the principle of presumption of innocence and guarantees for a fair trial.

Besides, other anti-torture organizations, including the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), claims that millions of people are unnecessarily held in pre-trial detention worldwide resulting in human rights violations and creating an enormous pressure on an overburdened criminal justice system. The average rate of persons held in preventive detention is 34,7% in the African continent. Reducing the use of pre-trial detention is an urgent matter, because it costs much for States, society and individuals and it results in overcrowding prisons and violations of fundamental right.

The Pre-trial Detention Day in Africa was adopted by the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) in the Yaoundé Declaration of October 23rd, 2015 following its tenth biannual conference on “Prohibition and Prevention of Torture: Successes, Challenges, Opportunities and Role of NHRIs”.

The Yaoundé Declaration recommends, “To contribute to a reduction in the over use of pre-trial detention, including by promoting legal and policy reforms on: alternatives to incarceration, para-legal based interventions, duty solicitors at police station, and pre-trial evaluation.”

The CNDH reported in 2012 that “Excessive use of pre-trial detention is the primary cause of prison overcrowding”. It recommended as well to “Speed up the processes for dealing with prisoners placed in pre-trial detention, in relation to both investigative and trial procedures”, and to “schedule the building of new prisons especially for persons held in pre-trial detention and for those sentenced to short term penalties in districts of each court of first instance.”


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