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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Evidence in rape cases in four southern African countries
Author:Armstrong, A.
Periodical:Journal of African Law
Geographic terms:Botswana
Swaziland - Eswatini
sexual offences
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Abstract:Evidentiary rules applicable to rape and other sexual offence cases, inherited from 19th-century England and based on Victorian notions of women's behaviour, are alive and well in 20th-century southern Africa. These are the cautionary rules which require a trial judge to be aware of the danger of convicting a rape accused without corroboration, or independent evidence supporting the testimony of the complainant. Although the cautionary rule of corroboration is still applied in many countries, most progressive and feminist thinkers consider them to be 'a lingering insult to women'. In this article the author examines the cautionary rules on evidence in sexual cases in southern Africa (Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, and Zambia) and shows that they are not only based on outmoded stereotypes, but are also particularly unsuitable to southern Africa. Note, ref.