Masters Degrees (Law of Procedure and Law of Evidence)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    A historical and comparative study of human rights violations in criminal investigations in Lesotho
    (University of the Free State, 2010-11) Lenka, Thamae Caswell Liphapang; Van der Merwe Fick, C. P.
    English: The issue of human rights violations in criminal investigation emerges as one of the much debated subjects amongst academics since the inception of the idea of the fundamental human rights all over the world. Human rights remain a center pillar and a pivot around which criminal justice system revolves. In Lesotho, for example, the question of human rights has been critical in the light of the fact that, since independence on the 4th of October 1966, there was never a real and tangible instrument which guaranteed human rights. The 1966 Constitution which contained entrenched Bill of Rights was suspended in 1970. From 1970 until 1993, Lesotho was governed undemocratically. There were no periodic elections as prescribed by the 1966 Constitution. The 1970 interim authority introduced orders which administered the country. Around that time, besides interim orders, the country was governed through military dictates, 90 days detention without trial and state of emergency laws and regulations. Citizens were arrested, searched and charged arbitrarily by the governments of the day. The study, firstly, commences with a thorough investigation of the violation of the fundamental human rights. It gives a historical background of Lesotho political landscape, legal system, Lesotho mounted police service evolution, and practical human rights violations. The study, secondly, draws a comparative scenario between Lesotho, the Republic of South Africa, the United States of America and the United Kingdom as far as human rights violations are concerned. The question of police use of force, whether deadly or moderate, while conducting arrest, search or seizure, has been thoroughly investigated and discussed. Human rights material, documents and instruments internationally or locally have been identified, analyzed and discussed. Based on the findings of the research, lessons and recommendations for Lesotho have been drawn. The study argues that generally speaking, there are no adequate control mechanisms put in place to regulate police powers in Lesotho compared to other jurisdictions. It further argues that, some jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom, the Republic of South Africa and the United States of America have some advanced police intervention programmes aimed at improving and constantly checking police work. The Republic of South Africa in particular, has moved away from the apartheid past tendencies and legacy which saw the police use repressive means in dealing with the public unrest. For example, the principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty encouraged them to abuse their power as illustrated in the decision of Sachs v Minister of Justice1 where the Judge had this to say: ”Arguments are sometimes advanced which do seem to me to ignore the plain principle that Parliament may make any encroachment it chooses upon life, liberty and property of any individual subject to its sway, and that it is the function of the courts of law to enforce (Parliament’s will).” However, this scenario changed with the introduction of the interim Constitution of 1993 which ushered in a democratic majority rule in 1994. The introduction of the 1993 interim Constitution brought with it a Constitutional State founded on the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law as opposed to a long practiced Parliamentary rule.2