Namibia: NSHR pursues Nujoma case

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Monday, January 7, 2008 - Web posted at 6:46:52 GMT


THE National Society for Human Rights has added a second addendum to its original submission to the International Criminal Court after threats against it intensified.

NSHR executive director Phil ya Nangoloh confirmed to The Namibian that the second addendum was submitted on September 28 last year and contained information relating to death threats against individuals working for the organisation.

Such threats, Ya Nangolo said, followed The Namibian's report in July last year in which it was revealed that the NSHR had approached the ICC to hold former President Sam Nujoma and three others accountable for people who went missing in the care of Swapo and the Government before and after Independence.
The ICC said it was considering the request by the NSHR that Nujoma, former Defence Minister Erkki Nghimtina, former Chief of Defence and now retired Lieutenant General Solomon 'Jesus' Hawala and NDF First Battalion Colonel Thomas Shuuya be investigated for "instigation, planning, supervision, abetting, aiding, defending and or perpetuating" the disappearances of hundreds of Namibians.

The ICC only came into being in 2002 but the NSHR submitted that they be charged under the "continuous violation doctrine" even though some of the alleged crimes were committed before that time.

The NSHR said it was prepared to withdraw the ICC submission if the Namibian Government set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

However, it has since came under heavy criticism from the Government, the ruling Swapo Party and the affiliated National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW).

Ya Nangoloh said an international jurist of repute, who has been monitoring the post-July 2007 events in Namibia, strongly advised the NSHR to add threats from various Swapo instances to its original request that the ICC investigate Nujoma and others for crimes against humanity.

According to the jurist, the behaviour of Swapo and its affiliates last year amounted to attempts at defeating the ends of justice by intimidating and threatening possible witnesses not to give evidence in case the ICC decides to investigate.

"Hence, according to him there is a good possibility that the ICC might eventually decide to investigate Nujoma," Ya Nangoloh said.

The advisor also told the NSHR to indicate additionally that the alleged crimes were widespread, were perpetrated and committed with the full knowledge of Nujoma and others and that the NSHR submission had resulted in systematic persecution.

"As a result of, among others, Nujoma's refusal to acknowledge the enforced disappearances of thousands of Namibian prior to and after Namibian Independence and also his refusal to reveal the fate and whereabouts of those who had disappeared, there are individuals and families in Namibia who experience great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health, such as my own mother and other family members for example," Ya Nangoloh said.

The Information and Evidence Unit of the Office of ICC's Prosecutor has confirmed that they have received the NSHR's second addendum.

The NSHR has said that it was always ready to negotiate but that the Government failed to show interest, prompting it to approach the ICC.

The human rights organisation wants an "effective and home-grown" TRC to bring about "transitional justice and a true national reconciliation process".

They made the offer to President Hifikepunye Pohamba in writing.

The President responded by calling on NSHR to withdraw the submission for the sake of peace and stability in the country.

He also vowed that the Government would do everything in its power to defend Nujoma and the other three.

The NSHR dossier was submitted to the ICC in November 2006 in which the NSHR said Nujoma's continued refusal to reveal the facts about the fate and whereabouts of around 4 200 'missing persons' qualified him to be tried under the "continuous violation doctrine".

Nujoma was the Commander-in-Chief of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) during Swapo's liberation struggle and he assumed the responsibility of the Commander-in-Chief of the Namibia Defence Force (NDF) after Independence.

The NSHR approached the ICC after a motion to discuss the issue in the National Assembly was rejected by Swapo in October 2006.

The motion was tabled by the Congress of Democrats' Kala Gertze, himself detained for six years in the dungeons of Lubango.

It was aimed at debating the crimes perpetrated against several thousand Namibians.

The victims were accused by Swapo of allegedly spying for apartheid South Africa.

Most of them were rounded up and held in underground prisons and, after having been subjected to torture, many disappeared and remain unaccounted for.

Others were summarily executed.


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This page contains a single entry by Marga Lacabe published on 10 de Enero 2008 7:01 PM.

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