Lesotho

Strong human rights judgment for prisoners in Lesotho

In an important human rights judgment, the high court of Lesotho has held that a former army commander, Tlali Kamoli, now a prisoner, refused bail and standing trial for murder and attempted murder, may attend the funeral of his son who died recently. The decision is important because Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane, who wrote the decision, stressed the principle that the human rights of prisoners had to be taken into account in making such a decision - and in fact did so in his judgment.

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In the introduction to his decision, Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane explained that the applicant in this case, Tlali Kamoli, in prison and waiting for the conclusion of his trial, had heard the news of his son’s death and had applied to attend the funeral.

Judicial appointments’ problems spread like a virus

Like a rampaging judicial virus, political and other problems are infecting the process of appointing judges in a number of African countries. And there’s no vaccine or any other easy solution in sight. Developments in Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Kenya – and then, out of the blue last week, South Africa – all point to serious problems about the process of judicial appointments. Here’s a guide to the symptoms of this particular virus.

Lesotho

Magistrate correct to have woman imprisoned for contempt over child access - Lesotho high court

A mother was found to have committed contempt of court by disobeying an order about child-access, shared with her ex-husband, and she was sent to prison. She later claimed the magistrate had wrongly ordered her imprisonment and she demanded financial compensation for alleged constitutional damages. But the high court in Lesotho has now found the mother was the one in the wrong, not the magistrate, and applauded the magistrate for protecting the dignity and effectiveness of the courts.

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The facts that gave rise to this case speak of a woman who flagrantly disobeyed the court and refused to back down. (Because a child is involved, the mother, who was the applicant in this case, is not being named here, being merely referred to by her initials.)

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