Namibia

The Complexity of Land Expropriation

TO an outsider, the case might at first sight seem no more than a relatively simple dispute over ownership of the land on which a shopping mall is being built. But the case of Stantoll v Johannes involves far more complex issues than that. It is also about the difficulties surrounding state expropriation of land and subsequent expectations of compensation, at a time when this is a hot issue in many African countries.

THE case that initially sparked all the trouble involves a property developer and members of an extended family clan that used to live on the site where the development is taking place.

The disputed land lies in Ongwediva, part of Namibia’s remote, far north, an area where communal land rights are a hot issue and where the country’s ruling party has its stronghold. It’s also an area ripe for development.

‘War against women’ with rise in gender-based torture

A judge in Zimbabwe has slammed fatal domestic violence against women as 'gender-based torture'. Sentencing a man who savagely murdered his partner the judge, Amy Tsanga, said women were 'clobbered, booted, strangled, stabbed or slashed to death' by their partners. Such attacks so often happened in their own bedrooms that these spaces had become 'a deadly environment' for women.

This article is re-published with permission from LegalBrief: Your Legal News Hub by Juta&Co.

 

War is being waged in the southern African region: against women. That’s the conclusion you could come to from regularly reading court decisions in this part of the continent.

Namibian Supreme Court outlaws ultra-long prison sentences

In an important new decision, Namibia’s highest court has held that judges in that country may not impose jail terms that are “longer than a life sentence”. Prisoners serving life may be considered for possible parole after 25 years, and the supreme court has now held that any sentence in which parole is not at least notionally possible after 25 years, would be unconstitutional. The court was dealing with an appeal in which a trial court had imposed sentences of well over 60 years.

CARMEL RICKARD

NAMIBIAN judges may no longer impose extremely long jail terms that leave a prisoner worse off than under a conventional life sentence. The country’s top court has found it unconstitutional to hand down “informal life sentences”, via jail terms that are so long that offenders have no possible hope of ever being released before they die.

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