Molibeli says won’t lose sleep over ICC threats

Molibeli says won’t lose sleep over ICC threats

MASERU – POLICE Commissioner Holomo Molibeli says he is not worried by the opposition’s call for him to be dragged before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Commissioner Molibeli this week said he could go to the ICC without any fear to account for alleged intentional negligence in the course and scope of his work.

His comments came in the wake of a letter written by Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) secretary general, Bokang Ramatšella, and 17 others last week to the ICC seeking the prosecution of Commissioner Molibeli, Police Minister ’Mampho Mokhele and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane at The Hague.
They complained that under Thabane and Mokhele’s watch and instigation, the police had brutally killed members of the community in various areas around the country.
The letter cites several cases of murder allegedly committed by the police and others that Commissioner Molibeli seems not keen to investigate.

They include the murder of Lipolelo Thabane, the estranged wife of the Prime Minister by yet to be identified men two days before her husband’s inauguration ceremony in 2017.
Molibeli said on the issue of Lipolelo Thabane, the police have since appealed to Basotho to provide them with information which could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators.
He said although some people have claimed to have knowledge of the murderers, no one has come forward to provide the police with information.
He said the police do not only investigate deaths committed during the incumbent government but even those that were committed in the past.

“We investigate all cases as police, crime is crime and we could not look away,” he said.
He said Ramatšella should have embarked on thorough investigations before reporting to the ICC because some of the cases are already being probed locally.
“They once said we killed ’Makarabo Mojakhomo and I was called to explain to the courts of law. I did and would not be afraid to go and do the same thing at the ICC,” Molibeli said.
He said the police have investigated cases against fellow cops, showing the impartial nature of the law enforcement agency.

Ramatšella’s letter reads: “The submission relates to our humble call to the ICC to investigate and prosecute Thabane, Mokhele and Holomo and all those who are allegedly involved in these monstrous crimes.”
It further reads that the call for investigation and prosecution relates to their individual criminal responsibility and culpability in the commission of crimes against humanity in Lesotho.
The letter cites Article 7 of the Rome Statute of 2002 in recognition of the fact that the ICC prosecutes individuals including government officials and Heads of State and the government.

“We have a strong belief that our call for investigation and subsequent prosecution of these individuals falls within the jurisdiction of the ICC under Article 5 of the Rome Statute,” it reads.
In the letter, it is stated that the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa and American Embassy in Lesotho are aware of the magnitude of the state-sponsored crimes.
The letter says they were confident that the ICC would handle the matter raised since such serious crimes were of concern to the international community.
It said such crimes must not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at national level.

The letter argued that the government of Lesotho is unwilling to carry out investigations even though perpetrators of the unspeakable crimes are well known police officers.
“In the absence of local remedies, we therefore call for the ICC’s intervention,” the letter reads.
The letter referred to Thabane’s “toxic pronouncement in the Lesotho National Assembly immediately after his assumption of power to the effect that police should torture suspects when people are not in sight”.
“He reiterated the inciteful pronouncement in many public fora including public rallies and the Lesotho television,” it reads.

Thabane has given the police a blank cheque to operate without judicial review, thus effectively putting them above the law, reads the letter.
The letter says Mokhele complied with Thabane’s orders and visited many police stations around the country and “ordered police to follow the orders to the letter and promised to protect them against criminal liability in execution of these orders thereby sending a message to perpetrators that their crimes would go unchecked”.
“We firmly believe that by offering to protect murders and (acts of) torture minister Mokhele squarely promoted the culture of impunity in the police,” reads the letter.

The letter stated that Molibeli carried out Thabane’s orders and assembled an alleged torture squad under the pretext of dealing with unresolved crimes that were committed during the previous coalition government.
This squad, the letter reads, earned its notoriety for becoming a law unto itself, severely torturing suspects, thereby transforming the police headquarters into a torture camp.
The opposition has counted up to 45 people which it says were killed by the police since Thabane assumed power in 2017.

Nkheli Liphoto


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