n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The victim-centred approach in criminal prosecutions and the need for compensation : reflections on international approaches and the legislative and policy frameworks in Uganda and South Africa

Volume 47, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Since the early 1960s, the rights of victims of crime have been a matter of grave concern. This is because victims of crime have been marginalised and situated on the periphery of the criminal justice process with little focus on a victim-centred processes directly addressing the rights of offenders. This article first explores international developments in the area of victim protection, discussing the approaches of international bodies and criminal tribunals, especially the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Court (ICC), with the latter being perhaps the 'gold standard'. A review of the different approaches adopted by Uganda and South Africa follows. This includes reference to pertinent legislation and policy frameworks in both countries. The main distinguishing aspect is that South Africa's approach is based on an extensive policy framework, while Uganda's focus is rather on a legislative framework. It is important that Uganda, South Africa, and other African countries begin to work towards progressively realising victim-protection standards similar to those of the ICC. The state should take responsibility for the plight of victims of crime, and the entrenchment of rights of victims in both the Ugandan and South African Constitutions would be an important advance. The need for meaningful measures such as compensation and proper structures (for example, a fund for victims) to implement these measures is also stressed.

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