Treason case fails to kick off

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Treason case fails to kick off
Treason case fails to kick off

Africa-PressLesotho. The treason case in which the High Court was to hear the arguments on the joinder of Hon. Mothetjoa Metsing and Hon. Selibe Mochoboroane was put on ice indefinitely yesterday.

This is due to the absence of the presiding judge, Justice Onkemetse Tshosa on Monday this week. Both the prosecution team and the defence team told Informative Newspaper that the new

date for the case will be set on July 23rd. The case was scheduled to be heard this last Friday but could not continue as the High Court premises were being decontaminated following the case of COVID-19 which has been

discovered in the courts. The crown and the defence lawyers will present their arguments on Tuesday this week and if the Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane will join the former Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander

Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and eight other soldiers who are up for treason charges. These soldiers have been kept in custody since 2017. They are also facing

the murder charges of former Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander Lieutenant General Maapanakoe Mahao who was allegedly killed by the soldiers near Mokema

in June 25, 2015. The Constitutional Division of the High Court had in November last year declined to grant Mochoboroane and Metsing rescission and also declared the controversial Clause

10 which says “Mr.

[Mothetjoa] Metsing and similarly placed persons will not be

subjected to any pending criminal proceedings during the dialogue and reform process” as unconstitutional”. The Constitutional Court held that: “… it would be

legally justifiable to arrive at a conclusion that Clause 10 of the MOU, remains unconstitutional. However, we remain convinced that the sprit in the MOU appears to be a constructive way

forward paving towards national healing, reconciliation and unity. We reiterate our earlier position that the problem is intrinsically political and needs a political solution rather than a

legalistic one. ” The Chief Justice, His Lordship Sakoane Sakoane had earlier this year referred the duo application, wherein they had petitioned the court to interdict the Director of Public

Prosecutions (DPP) from trying them. “To the extent that the DPP is actively seeking to prevent the applicants from meaningfully exercises (sic) their right of appeal by vexatiously instituting challenged

criminal proceedings, the propriety at which action depends upon the determination of the appeals, the DPP is committing an abuse of court process, which should not be counter balanced.

“The abuse of court process committed by the DPP is manifested in a related but different context

in these proceedings. She agreed to refrain from exercising her powers to institute the proceedings against the applicants pending the outcome of the decision by Constitutional Court on clause 10, which dictated the deferral of

prosecution against them,” reads their court application. Also, during its April session, the two politicians lost the bid in which they had challenged the High Court’s resistance from

hearing their case and referring it to the trial Judge, failed to convince the Court of Appeal as in its recent judgement it had dismissed their two cases

wherein in another case they wanted the rescission of judgment relating to unconstitutionality of the Clause 10 and challenging their joinder, the court

had dismissed their cases with costs and the other one strucking it off the roll. In its May 14 verdict, the higher court of record said: “The Lesotho courts already are under severe

pressure due to congested court rolls. There is a need to stem unwarranted proliferation of litigation involving the same parties based on the same issues

related to the same subject matter. ” Meanwhile, the government has recently tabled the peace, unity bill. There has been a furore recently sparked by the controversial National Peace and Unity Bill, 2021 which

has been tabled in the National Assembly by the Minister of Justice and Law Advocate Lekhetho Rakuaoane. The bill is a precursor to the National Peace and Unity Commission, which could pardon those

alleged to have perpetrated human rights violations and crimes committed by politicians on account that they appear before the Commission and tell the

truths of what happened. The members of the Commission will be appointed by the Prime Minister acting upon recommendations from the selection panel. It will be formed of the Chairperson,

Vice-Chairperson, one Commissioner and the prosecuting officer who is trained in law. This bill is “an act to make provision for the establishment of a National Peace and Unity

Commission for the purpose of building sustainable national peace, security, stability, unity and social cohesion by creating an opportunity for both victims and perpetrators of gross human rights violations to reach healing and

reconciliation; the empowerment of the Commission to hear evidence in a comprehensive manner to determine the truth about gross violations of human rights emanating from acts, omissions or offences associated with political

conflicts or motives committed in Lesotho; to grant reparations to victims and amnesty to persons who make full disclosure of all relevant information of

their wrong doings; and for related matters. ” Meanwhile the public opinions contained in the Multi-stakeholder National Dialogue Plenary II Report talks of the establishment of “an all-encompassing Transitional Justice

Commission (TJC)” which is believed to be “suitable to Lesotho’s context to address incidents of human rights violations and injustices, with a focus on

reconciliation, peacebuilding, reparation, compensation without compromising justice and impunity, to address all things that have turned Basotho nation against each other”. The TJC is to be “a balance between amnesty and prosecution”.

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