Hague Journal on the Rule of Law

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 139–164 | Cite as

The Socio-Economic Impact of Pre-trial Detention in Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia

  • Lukas Muntingh
  • Jean Redpath


The presumed link between the rule of law and development suggests that an operational justice system is key to development. The research sought to understand and quantify how the decision to detain an accused person affects his or her socio-economic situation. Data was collected in Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia. The findings suggest that the use of the coercive power of the state exercised through the deprivation of an individual’s liberty has serious socio-economic consequences. While detention pending trial is justifiable sometimes, we argue that it is over-used, frequently resulting in excessively long detention. The deprivation of liberty interferes with the ability of individuals to be agents of their own development, infringing on socio-economic rights of individuals and their dependents. States can justify such infringements only if their coercive power is used within the ambit of democratic and rights-respecting laws complying with human rights standards.



The research on which this article is based was made possible with support from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), in partnership with Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA), the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Africa Criminal Justice Reform, Dullah Omar Institute on Constitutional Law, Governance and Human RightsUniversity of the Western CapeBellvilleSouth Africa

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