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Review of the Penal Code Act, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia and the Criminal Procedure Code Act, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia

Date

The primary Act that codifies criminal offences and provides for their corresponding penalties is the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia (PC). The primary Act that prescribes the process to be followed during the course of criminal proceedings- the arrest, trial and sentencing of a person who has been accused of having committed a
crime is the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia (CPC).

Besides the PC and CPC, there other Acts focused on particular areas of the law that provide for criminal offences and criminal procedure. These specialised Acts are  concerned with, inter alia, money laundering; motor vehicle use; terrorism financing and proliferation activities; corruption; banking and financial services; tax; marriage; and narcotic and psychotropic substances.

In 2011, the Minister of Justice instructed the Zambia Law Development Commission (ZLDC) to undertake a project to review the Penal Code Act and the Criminal Procedure Code Act and related legislation. This review was prompted by an outcry from stake-holders in the criminal justice system who observed that criminal offences had been duplicated in different Acts and had conflicting penalties; and that the criminal legal framework in Zambia was inconsistent with international law and best practice.

In 2016, the Cabinet appointed a Technical Committee of experts in criminal law to provide oversight to the law review process and to make recommendations.
This report outlines the law review process which included a desk study; comparative study visits; focus group discussions in the form of stakeholder consultative meetings and stakeholder validation meetings; Technical Committee meetings; and meetings to draft legislative amendments. It further outlines the recommendations of stakeholders,
the Technical Committee and the ZLDC.

It is our hope as a Technical Committee, and on behalf of the Commission that this process shall contribute to the development of a suitable legislative framework for the criminal justice system.