When the shepherd becomes a wolf

Top-ranking Namibians implicated in international corruption related to the country’s lucrative fishing industry, have failed to have the search and seizure warrants issued against them set aside. Among the targets of the warrants applied for by the anti-corruption commission were the former minister of fisheries and marine resources and the former minister of justice. But the judge hearing the matter was highly critical of aspects of the commission’s behaviour.

Judiciary runs out of words for 'barbaric' gender violence

As the international community marks its annual 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence, judges are running out of words to describe the horrific cases of femicide that regularly come before them for trial. A case in point was recently heard by Namibia's high court and concerns the butchery of a woman by the man with whom she had been in a romantic relationship.

Read judgment on conviction

Read judgment on sentence


Every week I read scores of judicial decisions from all over the world. Many involve the rape or murder of women or children.

This week was no different.

The power of law to challenge injustice

One of Namibia’s senior judges, David Smuts of that country’s Supreme Court, has just published a book on his work during the 1980s when Namibia was still virtually a province of South Africa. At that time, Smuts was a young lawyer determined to make a difference by exposing and curbing the shocking human rights atrocities he knew were taking place in Namibia on the orders of the SA government or its security arms. It’s a book full of thrilling stories about his work in that period, reminding readers of the power of law – and lawyers – to challenge injustice.

Bad though things are in South Africa at the moment, they are not anything like as fearful or difficult as the successive states of emergency, the political oppression and brutality of the 1980s. And perhaps it is because the politics of those years in SA were so all-consuming that I seldom focused for very long on what was happening next door in what is now Namibia.


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