Roland Routh Windhoek-Just because the eight men on trial for treason insist they are not Namibian citizens, and that the Namibian courts have no jurisdiction over them, they cannot keep lodging court applications using that argument to delay prosecution. This was the argument by State Advocate Laurens Campher, who took over the prosecution from Advocate Neville Wamambo, yesterday before Judge Petrus Unengu in the Windhoek High Court. The eight men are still on trial for various counts of high treason, sedition, public violence, and the illegal importation of weapons and ammunition. They have previously appealed, without success, their prosecution on the grounds that the court has no legal jurisdiction to prosecute them. Campher told Judge Petrus Unengu that contrary to their argument Namibia’s highest court has already decided that Namibian courts have jurisdiction over them. Campher pointed out that the fact that these men had applied and received Namibian identity documents and are registered voters with Namibian voter’s cards shows that they are Namibian citizens since Namibian independence and founding of the independent Republic of Namibia. The men are Progress Kenyoka Munuma Munuma, Shine Samulandela Samulandela, Manuel Manepelo Makendano, Alex Sinjabata Mushakwa, Diamond Samunzala Salufu, Hoster Simasiku Ntombo, Frederick Isaka Ntambila and John Mazila Tembwe. Together they lodged a special plea claiming that the Caprivi Strip was never part of Namibia after Judge Unengu refused their jurisdiction challenge and their appeal in the Supreme Court dismissed. This week Campher was emphatic that the eight men have exhausted all their avenues and the trial must continue to its logical conclusion. He further argued that they only entered the special plea because they are in trouble and want an easy way out. “The accused lived their whole lives as Namibians,” Campher told the judge. He further said that Namibia’s border has been fixed for the past 140 years and for the accused to come now and claim otherwise is not advancing their case any further. He also told the judge that the only expert on Namibia’s boundaries to have testified was Doctor Sacky Akwenda, who testified for the prosecution. The so-called expert for the defense, Phil Ya Nangolo, is not an expert on Namibia’s boundaries, Campher said, adding that Ya Nangolo could only be described as an expert on human rights. Lawyer Isle Aggenbach, who brought the special plea on behalf of the accused, is busy with her arguments. Aggenbach, who appears for six of the accused, said they bona fide and genuinely believe that the history of the former Caprivi Region, now called Zambezi, shows that it was not part of the territory which formerly constituted the German Protectorate of South West Africa (GSWA), but that it was instead a former British Protectorate. George Neves appears on behalf of two of the accused and he is in agreement with Aggenbach. The eight men still face various counts of high treason, sedition, public violence and the illegal importation of weapons and ammunition. It is alleged the accused took part in a conspiracy aimed at overthrowing the Namibian government in the former Caprivi Region between September 1998 and December 2003. Their trial has been plagued by numerous postponements since being referred back to the High Court to start afresh after a successful appeal to the Supreme Court in July 2014. The Supreme Court set aside the convictions and sentences ranging from 30 to 32 years for convictions of high treason in July of 2007. They remain in custody where they have been for the last 17 years.
2018-02-23 09:28:30 6 months ago