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Madagascar: Magistrates seek to relieve overcrowding in prisons

17-04-2014 News Release 14/63

Antananarivo (ICRC) – Some 40 magistrates are taking part today in a workshop, organized jointly by the Ministry of Justice and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), on the problem of prison overcrowding. Faster processing of criminal cases and the development of alternatives to pre-trial detention, release on probation and other measures will be at the centre of discussions.

Chronic overcrowding in the country's correctional facilities has significant repercussions for detainees. Improvements in the performance of the courts and faster processing of cases would considerably reduce the number of people detained. Recognizing this, the justice ministry and the ICRC have been working together since 2011 within the framework of a technical committee to improve respect for due process.

"This workshop also provides an opportunity to remind magistrates and representatives of the prison administration of their primary task, which is to ensure that the rule of law prevails and that the administration of justice is trustworthy, uncorrupted and respectful of human rights," said Jean Emile Andrianasolonjanahary, secretary-general of the justice ministry.

Throughout the day, representatives of the justice ministry will present the practical steps that have already been taken to improve the work of the courts and ease prison overcrowding. Established best practice in several jurisdictions and plans for reform currently under preparation will also be reviewed.

"The justice ministry has already taken concrete measures," said Christoph Vogt, head of the ICRC regional delegation in Antananarivo. "It is important that these be understood and applied so that they will have real impact on the thousands of detainees who are suffering from overcrowding."

For further information, please contact:
Narindra Rakotonanahary, ICRC Antananarivo, tel: +261 33 37 303 30
Realy Diderot, Ministry of Justice, tel: +261 32 03 302 29