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Witness protection: Facilitating justice for complex crimes
18 August 2016

Responding appropriately to complex transnational and international crimes requires a multifaceted approach that includes a robust criminal justice response. Witness testimony is a crucial part of this. Witnesses, and often their family members, can face significant danger given their crucial role in obtaining a conviction.

Africa has seen situations where witness intimidation and harm have led to case dismissals and acquittals. Ultimately, justice fails in these circumstances. Obstacles such as insufficient funding, shortage of skills and weak political will must be addressed.

About the authors

Jemima Njeri Kariri is a senior researcher in the Transnational Threats and International Crime Division of the ISS. Her focus areas are international criminal justice, transnational crimes in Africa and related issues.

Uyo Salifu is a researcher in the Transnational Threats and International Crime Division of the ISS. Her focus areas are counterterrorism and countering violent extremism in West Africa, witness protection, children and gender in terrorism.

This policy brief was made possible with support from the governments of the Netherlands and Norway. The ISS is also grateful for support from the other members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Sweden and the USA.
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