Criminal Justice and Integrity

The Challenge

SADC criminal justice systems are generally weak in responding to organised crime, particularly in financial crimes and money-laundering. Most countries lack the legislation and prosecutorial capacity to tackle transnational crimes, including terrorism. Regional cooperation among prosecuting agencies is equally limited. Justice systems and legislative frameworks often fail to comply with international standards in access to justice and protection of human rights.

Inadequate prisoner living conditions, staff capacity, treatment and rehabilitation programmes suggest the need to include the prison system into broader justice reform. Many prisons in the region do not allow for the segregation of specific categories of prisoners nor do they provide adequate facilities for training and education.

Gender-based violence continues to be a serious concern on the SADC agenda. Whilst steps have been made to increase law enforcement responses and services provided to victims, levels of domestic and sexual violence in the region remain extremely high.

Emerging crimes are also showing a disproportionate growth rate, forcing authorities to address them in wider security responses. These include the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, maritime piracy, cybercrime, wildlife and forest crime, the production and trafficking of fraudulent medicines and illicit tobacco trade.

Our Work

UNODC is strengthening the national criminal justice systems of SADC countries in line with UN standards and norms.  It is supporting country efforts against corruption as well as strengthening the criminal justice institutions in the region by improving the effectiveness of investigation, prosecution, access to justice, fair trial and execution of penal sanctions, and by securing the protection of vulnerable groups.

The following table highlights specific outcomes under this Pillar:

Current Initiatives

Two main projects are currently being implemented by UNODC under this pillar:

Previous initiatives

UNODC Southern Africa has completed several projects particularly concerned with strengthening criminal justice systems in the region, such as: