Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Meanwhile, in Lesotho . . .

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre in Johannesburg has posted this informative report on a military justice case in Lesotho. Excerpt:
On Friday 15 April 2016 the Lesotho Court of Appeal heard arguments on a challenge by 23 members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) to decisions relating to their arrests and detention and the Minister of Defence's decision to convene a court martial in the case of Mareka and 22 Others v the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force and Others
From May 2015, a number of soldiers were apprehended and detained by the LDF. During this time Lt General Mahao (the former commander of the LDF) was shot and killed by members of the LDF. The detained soldiers, together with the late Lt General Mahao were subsequently accused of having plotted a mutiny. In the context of this crisis, the Lesotho government invited the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to intervene. SADC and the Lesotho government set up an independent Commission of Inquiry to review the investigations into the mutiny plot allegations and investigate Lt General Mahao's killing. The applicants in the Mareka case sought to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry. While the Commission commenced its work, the LDF continued to detain the applicants under closed arrest and convened a court martial with a prosecutorial team that included parties alleged to be victims of the mutiny plot. The applicants were prevented from participating in the Commission proceedings. 
The applicants brought a legal challenge to their arrests and detention and to the decision to convene the court martial.
This report is an all-too-rare example of how legal matters ought to be covered: state the facts and the issue(s). The Court of Appeal is expected to decide the case on April 29, 2016.

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