[LISTEN] Is an inquisitorial system more effective when handling rape cases?

Thursday marked day one of the presidential summit on gender-based violence and femicide.

Government convened the the two-day seminar following a call by the total shutdown movement in August.

A number of activists have long been calling for an inquisitorial system, rather than the adversarial system which often causes rape survivors secondary trauma on the stand.

Activists have made the argument that an inquisitorial system would allow the court to investigate the case by building up a picture of the facts to determine a finding.

Joanne Joseph spoke to Justice Minister Michael Masutha to get his insights on the matter.

I would imagine that an inquisitorial system would give a presiding officer - would free his or her hands to intervene in a manner that strikes some kind of a balance - but remember that it is internationally accepted that the standard of proof in a criminal matter, unlike in a civil matter, is for the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt and the onus is entirely on the state to meet that threshold.

Michael Masutha, Justice Minister

One of the possibilities is to enable witnesses who are not confident to face the accused for example, to testify on camera in a separate room where they are not face to face with the accused.

Michael Masutha, Justice Minister

In addition, when it comes to children as well as people with mental disabilities, intermediaries are available who act as facilitators.

Michael Masutha, Justice Minister

Indeed it is something we should be resuscitating, certainly something we can look at.

Michael Masutha, Justice Minister

Click on the link below to hear more from Masutha....


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