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Stop Impunity in Lesotho

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1. From April 2015 Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) began a campaign to detain more than fifty soldiers, torture them severely for allegedly being suspected of mutiny.  After families had applied for habeas corpus, some of those soldiers were brought to court in leg iron shackles and dripping blood and other signs of torture. Another batch of more than twenty soldiers fled the country and continue to live in exile in South Africa. At the same time three leaders of opposition parties in parliament were threatened and also fled to South Africa where they remain up to the present.

2. In another sign of instability and lack of rule of law, heavily armed soldiers in three army vehicles waylaid Lt. General Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the army, and brutally murdered him and tracked his body into one of the vehicles, to a military hospital where a concerted effort to hide evidence including washing his body and clothes was undertaken. SADC Double Troika Summit in Pretoria, South Africa established an international Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Phumaphi from Botswana to investigate the circumstances of his murder and related issues.

3. Phumaphi Commission among other things recommended that (I) Lt. General Kamoli be relieved of his Command of LDF; (II) soldiers implicated in cases of murder, high treason and related matters be suspended while investigations about those crimes are completed without any hindrance; detained soldiers be released since there is evidence that they were tortured and no case was made to the Commission contradicting that; measures be taken to ensure that opposition leaders and other exiles return to the country. In its Summit in Gaborone in January 2016, SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government received and endorsed the recommendations for implementation by Lesotho government.

4. None of the above decisions have been implemented. On the contrary, Prime Minister Mosisili in Parliament on 20/06/2016 praised the loyalty and competence of Lt. General Kamoli and indicated he would not be relieved of his Command; suggested that rather than release detainees he is inclined to issue a general amnesty to all soldiers including the murderers and those who have warrants of arrest for treason who continue to be ensconced in the barracks under the protection of LDF Command. He blamed exile of opposition leaders on themselves because they are not in danger.

5. When Double Troika Summit convenes on 28/06/2016 we plead that impunity in Lesotho be stopped. Decisions that Lt. General Kamoli be removed be enforced since all other decisions are dependent on that. We also plead that a supervised investigation and prosecution of all cases identified by the Phumaphi Commission be decided upon. Finally we plead that SADC ensures that a comprehensive and inclusive constitutional, public sector and security reform as per Communique of 19/06/2016 be undertaken under supervision of SADC.



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