Namibia

World Mental Health Day highlights shackling, inadequate court response

Just as Human Rights Watch issued its horrific report on the shackling of people with mental illness in many countries around the world, so an equally horrific case has emerged in Namibia. The report and the case show that there is a great deal still to be done to sensitise ordinary members of communities round the world – and, sadly, this includes magistrates, whom one might expect to know better – about how to respond to mental illness and what the law and the constitution require in such cases.

New book points to solutions for civil case backlogs

When the deputy chief justice of Namibia writes a book on court-managed civil procedure in that country’s high court, then judges in many countries should pay attention. That's because it is written by the judge who is widely regarded as the architect of Namibia's new and highly successful system, and he has made sure that his book will be informative and helpful for other countries wanting to follow the same path - towards judicial case management and a dramatic reduction in civil case backlogs.

Justice Petrus Damaseb’s new book details a judicial revolution: the change from the old, established system for managing civil procedure in Namibia, to a highly-efficient new order in which the ‘orthodox adversarial system’ has been transformed into one ‘where the pace of civil litigation has been removed from litigants and lawyers and placed in the hands of judges.’

Preserve your independence, court urges Namibian election commission

A full bench of Namibia’s high court has found that the country’s electoral commission acted unlawfully when it removed certain approved names from the list of candidates supplied by a political party and allowed other party members to replace them and be sworn-in, instead. Two members of Namibia’s Popular Democratic Movement brought the application when the electoral commission permitted a number of PDM members, not on the PDM list approved by the electoral commission before the polls, to replace those who had been approved by the commission.

Read judgment

Though it might seem to some a petty issue, brought by candidates irritated with being sidelined from the National Assembly at the last minute, this is a case that goes right to the heart of what constitutes a democratic election. And the proper course for an electoral commission to adopt in order to be – and to be seen to be – independent.

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