Comparative law and justice/Madagascar

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Scale of justice 2 new.jpeg Subject classification: this is a comparative law and justice resource .

Basic Information[edit]



Age Structure

0-14 years: 43.5% (Male- 4,523,033/Female- 4,460,473)
15-64 years: 53.5% (Male- 5,483,684/Female- 5,557,098)
65 years and over: 3% (Male- 280,677/Female- 348,591)


Indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%

Capital of Madagascar


Geographic Coordinates

20 00 S, 47 00 E


-Tropical along coast
-Temperate inland,
-Arid in south


-Narrow coastal plain
-High plateau
-Mountains in center

Ethnic Groups

-Malayo-Indonesian (Merina and related Betsileo),
-Cotiers (mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry - Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Antaisaka, Sakalava)


-English (official)
-French (official)
-Malagasy (official)

All information acquired from the World Factbook.[1]

Brief History[edit]

Madagascar (also known as The Republic of Madagascar) was an independent kingdom that the British and the French both had an ambition to acquire into their colony. Ultimately the result ended in French colonization in 1896, but Madagascar regained independence from colonial rule in June 26,1960.[2] Madagascar is right in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa about 400 km off the coast of Mozambique. Madagascar is the world’s fourth-largest island; it is twice the size of Arizona. The country's low-lying coastal area gives way to a central plateau. [3] The island is recognized as one of the world's top ten hotspots for biodiversity. [4]

Economic Development, Health, and Education[edit]

Economic Development[edit]

GDP (official exchange rate)

$8.551 billion*

GDP per capital


Labor Force

9.504 million (2007 est.)


-Meat processing
-Automobile assembly plant

Agriculture Products:

-cassava (tapioca)
-livestock products


$1.045 billion*
-Cotton cloth
-Petroleum products
France 28.9%
US 20.49%
Germany 5.89%
China 4.36%


$1.819 billion*
-Capital goods
-Consumer goods
China 12.99%
Thailand 11.93%
Bahrain 7.1%
France 6.89%
US 4.13%

*note- data is established in 2009 US Dollars


Infant Mortality Rate:

Total- 54.2 deaths/1,000 live births
Male- 59.12 deaths/1,000 live births
Female- 49.13 deaths/1,000 live births

Life Expectancy at Birth: Total- population: 62.89 years Male- 60.93 years Female- 64.91 years


Literacy (age 15 and over can read and write):

Male- 75.5%
Female- 62.5%

School Life Expectancy:

Total- 9 years
Male- 10 years
Female- 9 years

All information in this section was acquired from the World Factbook[5]


The government is a Democratic Republic that is run from the Constitution. The Constitutionof Madagascar was adopted on August 19, 1992, and was put into effect on September 12, 1992. Their Constitution is consists of 149 articles that provides the separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. The Legislative branch is the National Assembly and the Senate, Judicial branch consists of Supreme Court, High Court of Justice, Constitutional High Court, and Executive branch includes president, prime minister, cabinet. [6][7]. The government officials are elected by the following:

  • The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term
  • The Senate consists of 90 Seats, 60 members are indirectly elected by provincial assemblies and 30 members are appointed by the President; members serve 6-year terms
  • The National Assembly consists of 160 Seats. Members are elected by direct popular vote using parallel systems - 82 single-member constituencies using the first-past-the-post system and 34 two-member constituencies using the party-list proportional representation system; members serve 4-year terms.

Family Of Law:

The category in Family of Law that Madagascar falls under is Rational, which is based on reason.  They follow frances law system which is civil law.


The President is elected for a five year term, and can only serve two terms in office. If no candidate wins the majority of the popular vote, then there will be a run off election held between the two leading candidates, within a two-month period. If a Cotier wins the election for presidency, then a Merina will have to serve as the Prime Minister. This Law is Vice Versa.[8]

Law Making Process[edit]

Laws shall be voted by Parliament under conditions established by this section. Parliament shall consist of the National Assembly and the Senate. [9]

Office Holding Qualifications[edit]

Article 46 of the Constitution states that:

(1) All candidates for the office of President of the Republicmust possess all civil and political rights and must be at least 40 years old at the time the candidacy is declared.

(2) To become a candidate, the President then in office must resign one day before the beginning of the electoral campaign.

(3) Other conditions for candidacy shall he established by law.[10]

Voting Eligibility Voters who are registered, present voters card and identification; government officials check name on register, they give a ballot paper. The voter then marks the ballot of his/her candidate of choice, then leaves and places the ballot in the box; signs or thumb prints record of voting, the official then checks it against voter card; finger marked with indelible ink.[11]

Judicial Review[edit]

Courts and Criminal Law[edit]

In Madagascar it is the Supreme Court, the Appeal Courts, the Tribunals and the High Court of Justice who have the judicial power according to the terms of the Constitution and the law. There are two levels of jurisdiction in the legal system, they are the independence of the judge and the authority of the judgement. Since independence, legislative unification has been underway with the codification of modern law and new judicial organisation. "The legal system is affected by the Long Process of procedures, the interference of different authorities, competent or not, in the course of penal procedures and the lack of information about legal affairs and jurisprudence, not to mention rumours of corruption". [12] President of the Republic appoints and revokes the magistrates by decree. The legal system is based on two levels of jurisdiction, the independence of the judge and the authority of the judgment.[13]The government of Madagascar is required to provide the counsel for all detainees who cannot afford their own attorney; but the detainees were unaware of this practice. Attorneys have the right to receive government-held evidence, but this right does isn’t extended out to the defendants without attorneys. Their law provides a presumption of innocence; but, the presumption of innocence was mostly overlooked. While the law provides that juries can be used in all cases, in practice, juries were used only in labor disputes.[14]


If a U.S citizen travels to another country, they are then subject to the laws and regulations of the particular country their visiting. These laws and regulations are sometimes very different from the laws held in the United States, and they most likely wouldn’t have any protections available for the individual under U.S. law. The penalty for breaking the law in Madagascar will be more crude than breaking the law in the United States. The sanctions for violating the Malagasy laws, even if the person was unaware are, expulsion from the land, arrested or imprisoned. In Madagascar, penalties that a person can receive for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are much more severe and if convicted, offenders can expect a very long jail sentence and possible heavy fines. If a person is traveling to Madagascar from the U.S., if they engage in sexual activity with people under the age of 18, or disseminating child pornography it will be considered a crime and is prosecutable in the United States. [15] There were some tries to stop capital punishment in Madagascar, but the Justice Minister is defending the idea of keeping the death penalty. [16] In 2007 Madagascar ranked 94 in the world for imprisonment rates with 20,294 people in the prison and out of every 100,000 people, 107 of them are in prison. [17] The prison conditions in Madagascar are very harsh. The Cells were built to have only one person living there, but they house up to eight prisoners there. The prisoners that do not have any family, usually would go days without eating. The prisoners often have many medical conditions because of their lifestyle in the prison, including malnutrition, infections, malaria, and tuberculosis. The children would live in the prison and stay with their mother if the father wasn’t around. The females would engage in prostitution with the prison guards. [18] Children are automatically abolished from receiving the death penalty. They are issued a tutor if they are in conflict with the law. The children also have hearings in front of the parents and/or the tutors. They are held in different cells than the adult males and females. [19]

Legal Personnel[edit]

Law Enforcement[edit]

Madagascar fits into the multiple coordinated taxonomy type. The national police include a regular 500- member unit and a sixty-member paramilitary mobile unit. They are usually unarmed, except for the mobile force that uses the 7-62 SLR rifles. The police organization includes headquarters, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Special Force (Police Mobile Unit), general duties, and a special branch. A commandant manages the police training school at Praslin. The school provides a training course for recruits which takes about fifteen weeks, a two week course for supervisory officers', two-week promotion courses, and four-week basic courses. Each district also has field training. Western observers believe that the national police are weak and are not paid enough. As a result, the police have limited military value. [20] There are three different types of armed forces in the Madagascar military. They are Intervention Force, Development Force, and Aeronaval Force (navy and air). [21]


In 2005 Madagascar scored a 2.8 out of a 10 point scale, (0=very corrupted, 10=no corruption) in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. They are ranked 99 out of 159 countries in the world.

Crime Rates and Public Opinion[edit]

According to the OSAC 2010 Madagascar Crime and Safety Report, crime is consistent with the other countries developing in Africa. The crime rate has been rising rapidly since 2007. Due to the country's recent political crisis, Madagascar experienced an alarming spike in crime, both in the frequency and severity of incidents in 2009. "Criminal elements engage in criminal activity and methods previously unheard of and now unprecedented crimes occur on a daily basis." [22] Although the rate of crime in Madagascar is significantly lower than other countries in Africa and the U.S. Madagascar is one of the safest countries in Africa and even compared to the U.S. However there is crime in Madagascar in 2009, there were 477 reported armed attacks. There are other known crimes which include Carjacking, pick pocketing, purse snatching and residential and vehicular theft. These crimes are the most reported, and usually involve westerners, this occurs because American Citizens usually have more valuables than the citizens of Madagascar. [23]

Any crimes that happen in other countries are very difficult to follow for many reasons. Culturally, values on violence and crime range from culture to culture as well as throughout religions. The status of the economy can be a problem for some of these countries. Things like economic inequality, labor, and lack of education could play a major role to why many people in these countries commit crimes. Other than culturally and economically, the cultures law systems has to be considered when tracking crime. The countries laws on violence along with the corruption of the government has a major effect on the crime rates. These along with measurement errors such as a society’s ability to organize data, or even a societies definition of crime, must be considered when tracking and comparing a countries crime rates. [24]


Family Law[edit]


Marriage in Madagascar is done by the elders of each spouse, to determine whether they should be married. Divorce is a common thing among people in Madagascar. At the age of forty most Malagasy would have been in several marriages. The reasons for the divorce could be many different things. For example is the husband wasn't bringing home adequate food, basically ingnoring the duties of a father, or if the mother isn't taking care of the kids, then either spouse would have the right to end the marriage. In Madagascar, anyone is allowed to get married as long as the parents from both sides of the family give consent. Usually when the families agree on marriage, it's to help strengthen familial and social relationships.


Adoption isn't very common, but does occur very so often. Adoption between the U.S and Madagascar is controlled by the Hague Adoption Convention. They have some requirements before someone is able to adopt. The requirements are residency which states that at least one parent has to live in Madagascar with the child for at least a month, known as the probationary period. Theres and age requirement which is at least one parent needs to be above 30 years of age. The family has to be heterosexual couples, if one of the spouses dies, or they get a divorce then the process for adoption is terminated.[25]


Inheritance is determined by what product the deceased is giving up. If land was left then the inheritance would go to the oldest male child. If jewelery was in the will, then it would go to to the oldest female child. Both of the parents have the right to make decisions in the family about the children. Usually if the husband left the family, then the wife would most likely keep the children. It is common for the children to stay with their mother. [26]

Social Inequality[edit]

Human Rights[edit]

"The Madagascar Constitution of 1998 solemnly confirms the respect of human rights and the protection of the fundamental individual and collective liberties, as well as transparency in the conduct of public affairs and the application of the rule of law".[27] In the constitution of Madagascar, it is stated that the State shall prohibit all discrimination based on sex, education, wealth, origin, race, religion, or opinion.[28]

Works Cited[edit]

  12. System
  13. System
  24. Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur, Comparative Law and Justice, RIC, Class Discussion 9/27/2010
  27. Rights