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Victim Compensation and Aspects of Law and Justice in Tanzania

NCJ Number
International Criminal Justice Review Volume: 18 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2008 Pages: 292-317
Kahwa S.K. Lugakingira; Chris Maina Peter
Date Published
September 2008
26 pages
This article reviews the history and background of Tanzania’s relatively recent focus on providing a formal legal structure for ensuring compensation and other services for crime victims.
The most significant historic breakthrough for crime victims in Tanzania came in 2000 with the enactment of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977. Article 107A (2)-c of the amendment states that “in delivering decisions in matters of civil and criminal nature in accordance with the laws, the judiciary shall comply with the following rules, that is to say: to award reasonable compensation to victims of offenses committed by other persons, and in accordance with the special law enacted by the Parliament.” In Tanzania, there are two distinct systems of law and courts in the same sovereign state. One is on Tanzania Mainland, and the other is in Tanzania Zanzibar. This has implications for compensation to crime victims. This article focuses on the situation in Tanzania Mainland. It first traces the genesis of the legal system’s ignoring of the needs of crime victims during the colonial period and the persistence of this attitude in the post-independence period. This was part of the attempt to shield state agencies that were involved in violence and the torture of innocent citizens. In 1977, a commission known as the Judicial System Review Commission addressed, among other issues, compensation to crime victims. It noted that the law relating to payment of compensation to crime victims was inadequate. Under its provisions, the offender had to be convicted before the victim could be considered for compensation. Based on the amendment to the Constitution in 2000, it is time to put in place appropriate legislation for a compensation scheme for crime victims. 56 notes and 18 references


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