The treatment of victims of crime and the administration of criminal justice system in Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
In the field of criminal law and procedure much research has been done and a considerable amount of literature has been written on the causes of criminal behaviour, various ways of preventing crime and the treatment of criminal offenders. However, hitherto little attempt has been made to study the plight of the persons who are afflicted by crime i.e. victims of crime. The primary aim of this dissertation is to examine the problem of the treatment of victims of crime in relation to the administration of criminal justice system in Tanzania. This study has been prompted by the fact that, although much effort has been made to combat crime, crime rate has shown no sign of abating and more people are suffering from crime effects day after day. It is argued, therefore, that while it is important to intensify the war against crime, serious efforts should also be made to find the ways to ameliorate the impact of crime on the victim. To tackle the topical problem a historical approach has been followed. Chapter one examines the treatment of victims of crime under the pre-colonial tribal systems of administration of justice. It is argued that under the traditional systems of dispute settlement which were basically communal, the interests and needs of the injured victim or his relatives and those of the offender and his kindred were given equal value. This is evident from the fact that compensation or restitution and reconciliation dominated the idea of most dispute settlements. By and large the traditional sanctions were intended to maintain social equilibrium of the society. The establishment of colonial rule in Tanganyika saw the importation of adversarial system of administration of criminal justice. The new system based mainly on individualistic principles of justice rather than communal principles which prevailed in the customary systems of dispute settlement. Although in theory the colonial administration did not intend to interfere with the customary systems of administration of justice, in practice the contrary was true. The study shows that the imperialistic interests of the colonial masters could not have been fulfilled by the application of customary communal systems of dispute settlement. The establishment of the capitalist socio-economic conditions made the customary systems of administration of criminal justice to succumb to the individualistic system of administration of justice which was interested in punishing the individual offender rather than making good the injury or loss caused by crime. Chapter two shows how some principles and doctrines of criminal law and procedure have evolved all along to protect the rights of criminal offenders at the complete disregard of the innocent injured victims. This situation owes its history to the bourgeois revolution when it was argued that the state which is the complainant in almost all criminal cases has the tendency to be oppressive. The lack of interest to the victims of crime and the harsh treatment they experience when dealing with law enforcement agencies is examined in chapter three. It is asserted that, although crime victims have been playing an integral part in bringing to justice the criminal, the personnel in the criminal justice system have for long remained insensitive to the plight of the victims of crime. To police and court officials, victims of crime are seen merely as crime reporters and prosecution witnesses, and not like aggrieved persons who need sympathy and courtesy. It is argued that the war against crime would be in serious jeopardy if the victims of crime are to refuse to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies. Efforts have to be made, therefore, to change the attitude of the police and court officials towards the victims of crime. Chapter four gives some recommendeations on the measures which have to be taken to ameliorate the impact of crime on the victim. It is argued that Tanzania being a welfare state which has the responsibility to rehabilitate her people who are afflicted by such disasters like floods, hunger and drought, has more responsibility to rehabilitate victims of crime. The victims of crime suffer from body and , or mind injuries or loss of property or damage due to the failure of state mechanisms to protect the property, life and liberty of the citizens.
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Criminal justice, Administration of Tanzania
Nassary, T. A. R. (1993) The treatment of victims of crime and the administration of criminal justice system in Tanzania, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (