Guidelines on the Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-Trial Detention in Africa Luanda Guidelines, Participant Manual


Module 1: Introduction and contextualisation of Luanda Guidelines

Background to the development of the Guidelines
(Sections 25 and 46)

In May 2014 the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) adopted the Luanda Guidelines on the Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pretrial Detention in Africa. They provide a guide to policy makers and criminal justice practitioners aimed to strengthen day-to-day practice across the region. The guidelines contribute to the growing movement to advance pretrial justice, recognising that improvements at the entry point to the criminal justice system positively impact throughout the trial and post-trial stages.

Why are the guidelines important and how were they developed?
The unnecessary and arbitrary use of arrest and pretrial detention is a major contributory factor to prison overcrowding in the region. It also feeds corruption, increases the risk of torture and has significant negative socio-economic impacts on suspects, their families and communities. Cognisant of these issues, and of the need to strengthen criminal justice systems, the ACHPR mandated its Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa in 2012 to develop a set of practical guidelines on arrest and detention. A number of background studies, regional consultations and expert group meetings led to the final adoption of the Luanda Guidelines at the 56th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR in 2014.