Justice for Malawi's children

IN a “remarkable breakthrough”, the Malawi high court has come to the rescue of children illegally held in adult prisons. Some of the children were imprisoned in a jail where, according to an official 2016 parliamentary report, no food was available to inmates and where blankets were in short supply. As Carmel Rickard explains, the law says that children in trouble with the law may only be held in special places of safety or reformatories, and the court has now ordered the authorities to move the children within 30 days.

WHEN one of Malawi’s best-known judges, and someone particularly passionate about the needs of children, Fiona Mwale, addressed dignitaries at the opening of the Child Justice Court in Lilongwe 18 months ago, she raised an issue close to her heart: deep concern about the number of children detained in adult prisons rather than in specialised homes for youngsters in conflict with the law.

Challenging sentencing considerations in Malawi's cashgate scandal

Depending on the sources you consult, Malawi’s infamous Cashgate corruption scandal involved between MWK236 billion and MWK577 billion of public funds. This wholesale looting of government money was made possible by loopholes in state financial systems, exploited by a wide range of people over a number of years. While trials are continuing, the most recent accused to be sentenced was a former top official in the ministry of tourism, Leonard Karonga. Carmel Rickard takes a look at some of the difficult challenges faced by the court in deciding his punishment.

YOU don’t have to be an expert on Malawi politics or up to date with its legal quirks to see that in the sentencing case of R v Karonga something very unusual is going on.


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