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Does Caprivi Trial Satisfy International Justice?
February 23, 2007

Does Caprivi Trial Satisfy International Justice?
Friday, 23rd of February 2007

If the law says: “No persons shall be compelled to give testimony against themselves or their spouses, who shall include partners in a marriage by customary law, and no Court shall admit in evidence against such persons testimony which has been obtained through torture or through cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, my question is why are we allowing this when it comes to the high treason trial? Why do we have to waste time in the process that is outside the law?

Most if not all the Caprivi treason suspects have complained that they have been tortured or subjected to other cruel treatment during their interrogations and thereafter they were forced to make statements that are currently being used as evidence against them in the ongoing trial. Why, where is the justice here!

Besides, torture is an international crime, while secessionism is a crime to one country. What fair criteria towards suspects were used to decide which trial must take place first? Or has the Namibian government just decided that they are guilty?

The Namibia Constitution article 12 sub-article (d) says: All persons charged with an offence shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law, after having had the opportunity of calling witnesses and cross-examining those called against them. I can tell you that the high treason suspects are already treated as convicted criminals.

What do you think, if the Inspector General of the Namibian Police recently refused them transport to travel to Caprivi to raise funds that will enable them to pay for a lawyer to represent them – apparently “he will not provide them with transport to advance their case to secede Caprivi from the rest of Namibia”.

In terms of general international law magistrates, judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers have the obligation to make sure that allegations of torture are investigated to ensure that evidence obtained through torture or ill treatment are not accepted and used in court.

Although the undeniable evidence that torture and ill treatment have been used against both suspects and certain witnesses, our judges did absolutely nothing to make sure that the allegations have been investigated.
If this trial is not politicised, then let them prosecute the torture allegations first in order to avoid evidence obtained through torture to be used in this trial.

If this is not happening, there is something wrong with our justice system and if you ask me, in my opinion the high treason trial does not satisfy international standards because of these ongoing flaws nor is it lawful in accordance with the Namibian Constitution.

I believe that the weakness in the administration of justice will never produce the kind of process that would be able to satisfy international standards.
And this case should be dismissed with immediate effect!
Eva Maria Benhard


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