Kamoli faces foreign judges

Kamoli faces foreign judges

MASERU – FORMER army boss, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, and several soldiers are set to have their day in court after they failed to stop the government from appointing foreign judges to hear their trial.

After the Court of Appeal threw out their objection to foreign judges last Friday, the government swiftly moved to appoint two judges from Botswana to preside over the case.

The Batswana judges, Onkemetse Bashi Tshosa and Kabelo Kenneth Lebotse, were sworn-in by the Acting Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase on Monday at the High Court premises.
They were expected to start work on Monday but the case was postponed to August 21 to give the parties time for a pretrial conference.

Justice Mahase said the judges will be in the country for 18 months and will focus on constitutional cases which have been postponed for a long time, although they will also hear other matters such as those involving soldiers accused of murder.
She said the judges will help clear a case backlog clogging the courts and contributing to delays in justice delivery.

The foreign judges were hired after local judges showed no interest in dealing with high profile matters that include Kamoli‘s case.
Lawyers appearing for the suspects in the high profile cases unsuccessfully tried to block foreign judges from presiding over their cases.

They argued that hiring foreign judges could result in unfair trials.
Meanwhile, High Court Registrar Advocate Pontšo Phafoli said it took almost a year to get judges to help with cases involving soldiers.
She said following Justice Mphaphi Phumaphi’s commission, the country took the recommendations to take legal action on some of cases that arose from the probe. She said nine cases involving soldiers had been postponed for too long in the High Court.

The commission was established to investigate circumstances surrounding the death of Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, who was gunned down by his men in 2015.

Suspects in Lt Gen Mahao’s murder include Lt Gen Kamoli, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Captain Haleo Makara, Sergeant Lekhooa Moepi, Sergeant Motsamai Fako, Corporal Marasi ’Moleli, Corporal Motšoane Machai, Corporal Mohlalefi Seitlheko and Corporal Tšitso Ramoholi.
Adv Phafoli said the Batswana judges will complement a team of foreign judges already in the country.

These include Justice Charles Hungwe from Zimbabwe and Namibian judge, Justice Petrus Damaseb.

Itumeleng Khoete

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