At least 400 inmates in police stations and prisons in Blantyre have been able to access justice, through the ‘Access to justice’ programme, which is being run by the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance-CHREAA.

This is contained in a quarterly report which the organisation has released.

The December 2010-february 2011 report, gives an outline of activities, which the organisation has handled, in its quest to ensure that inmates, in some of the country’s prisons, are able to access justice.

According to the report, over 400 inmates from the organisation’s catchment area, which in this case include seven 7 police stations in Blantyre, were able to receive paralegal aid clinics, where paralegals assisted inmates, before they were brought before a court of law.

‘Child Justice Court’

The access to justice for women and girls project, has managed to screen over 180 boys and girls, who had their cases tried, at the Soche Child Justice Court in Blantyre, within the same period.

Some of the cases were recommended for diversion, others were acquitted, while some were referred to reformatory centres, for rehabilitation.

The report also sites that up to 51 paralegal aid clinics, were held in adult courts in Blantyre and Limbe, where inmates were given training about human rights, before meeting the magistrates.

Atleast 60 paralegal clinics were also conducted at the child justice court, according to the report, however, paralegals failed to meet the target, because trials at the court are not conducted on daily basis.

The court reserves two days in a week for civil cases.

The report, which has been signed by CHREAA’s Executive Director Victor Mhango, also show that in January this year, the organisation conducted two trainings, one for Police officers and another Community Based Educators.

The Police training was facilitated by Justice Edward Twea, the Chairperson of Juvenile Justice Forum in Malawi, Clifford Msiska, the National Director of the Paralegal Advisory Service and other facilitators.

The aim of the training for CBEs is to have them handle cases involving women and children who are in conflict with the law, at the local level, before they face formal justice.

According to the report, paralegals have been on call throughout this period, and conducted visits to police for inspections.