Draft Model Police Law scales through Second Reading at the Pan African Parliament - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Monday, October 14, 2019

Draft Model Police Law scales through Second Reading at the Pan African Parliament

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Hon. Ignatienne NYIRARUKUNDO

The Pan African Parliament on Friday passed for Second Reading, a Draft Model Police Law in Africa, having received the First Reading in May 2017 when the Plenary mandated the Committee on Justice and Human Rights to continue with its efforts to compile the law.
Presenting the draft police model law, the Chairperson of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Hon. Ignatienne NYIRARUKUNDO stated that the proposed model law will complement several African Union (AU) instruments such as the AU Agenda 2063, the African Charter on Democracy and the AU Security Sector Reform Policy Framework that promotes harmonization and consistency in reform across the continent, and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
The model law which is set out in four parts is intended to articulate a legal framework for policing in Africa that is consistent with the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and other regional and international standards.
It will also encourage State Parties to the African Charter to review and revise their existing policing laws to ensure that the legal framework for policing at the national level is consistent with the State Parties’ obligations under the African Charter and other regional and international legal instruments as well as guide the development by the State Parties to the African Charter of new legislation and policy or the review of existing legislation and policy.
Hon. NYIRARUKUNDO disclosed that the model law on policing in Africa is a product of about four years of work in a joint effort by the Committee on Rules and the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and African Policing and Oversight Forum (APCOF). She further disclosed that the Committee on Justice and Human Rights first conceptualized the model legislation on policing in August 2015 in recognition of the fact that AU member states are increasingly reforming policing as part of a broader democratization efforts.
“At the African level, there is no over-reaching legislative framework to guide the development of policing legislation to ensure consistency with the aims and objectives of the AU Constitutive Act, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the broader normative framework for policing found in international law”.
“It is in this regard that the Committee has developed a model law for policing in Africa as a normative contribution to improving policing in Africa that will complement other AU and regional efforts to promote safety, security, democratic governance and human rights” she said.
The model law envisages that law enforcement agencies “have as their central role, the protection of life, liberty and security of the person, the maintenance of public safety and social peace, and upholding and protecting the rule of law and human rights, The model law further provides that law enforcement agencies with the power to arrest and/or detain must refrain from arbitrarily depriving any person of their liberty and must afford detainees the procedural rights guaranteed by law (including presumption of innocence, right to bail or bond, right to challenge the lawfulness of arrest and detention). In addition to these procedural rights, the law provides that law enforcement personnel must ensure that all persons deprived of their liberty are treated in a manner consistent with the inherent dignity of the person, including the separation of the categories of prisoners, provision of adequate food, clothing and hygiene and facilitation of visits from lawyers, medical personnel and family. Special protection must be afforded to persons who are marginalized or vulnerable, and to categories of persons who are afforded such special protections under the law (such as women, juveniles and persons with disability”.
In conclusion, Hon. NYIRARUKUNDO stated that the model law provides for law enforcement agencies that are accountable and establishes minimum standards for recruitment, transfer and discipline, the provision of training and adherence to prohibitions against corruption and abuse of power.
Parliamentarians who spoke after the presentation by Hon. NYIRARUKUNDO observed that the current police force in most African countries serve those in power because our police laws were drafted during the colonial era when the police were established to serve the interests of the interests of the colonial masters. When independence was achieved, those who took over from the colonial masters maintained those police laws to serve their interests as opposed to serving the interests of the populace.
“The time has therefore come for those laws to be modified to serve the interests of Africans so that those in authority will no longer be able to use the police and the other security agencies as instruments for the oppression of the masses” said a Ghanaian parliamentarian.

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