Committed to upholding the law

With many qualifications under his belt, Dr Pilisano Masake has gone full circle in his law career. From police detective to law graduate and lecturer, and now a professional investigator for the International Criminal Court (ICC).

28 August 2020 | People

ESTER KAMATI

Dr Pilisano Masake is an international law scholar who holds an LLD in public law and international criminal law and an LLM from Stellenbosch University, a master’s in policing practice from Southern Business School, and an LLB and B-Juris from the University of Namibia. Currently, he is a lecturer and deputy head of the department of social services at the Namibia University of Science and Technology,

As a lecturer, Dr Masake provides students at the university with practical knowledge of the law, which is not just something he preaches but defends too, having served as a police officer. He held the rank of detective chief inspector in the Namibian Police. He is the co-founder of the Unam Law Review and served as the head articles editor until 2013, while co-authoring various articles and chapters of the book. Another book that Dr Masake co-authored is titled ‘The Law of Pre-Trial Criminal Procedure in Namibia’.

Masake also holds community engagements to a high standard and works alongside the Red Cross Society, a non-profit humanitarian institution. Recently, Dr Masake was listed as a professional investigator for the International Criminal Court (ICC). With this came duties, including, investigating international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression, which are all punishable by the ICC.

His area of expertise is international criminal law, with a particular interest in corporate criminal liability for international crimes.

As an investigator, Masake attended several professional criminal investigation courses, domestically as well as internationally. “I noted the convergence between crime investigation and law; with this realisation, it became clear that pursuing a law degree was inevitable. My perception was, which I still hold, that a law degree would invaluably complement my investigative competencies.”

That, along with his passion for learning and providing effective service to the community, is what inspired him to pursue law.

“As with law, just like investigation, every minute presents a learning opportunity – which is needed for personal growth.”

In order to effectively provide service to the community, he believed that learning sufficiently will allow him to effectively serve the community. “Thus, a law degree was the appropriate fit.”

In his role as a lecturer, some of the courses that he teaches include crime investigation, ethics for criminal justice professionals, criminal law, and human rights for criminal justice professionals, law of evidence and law of procedure.

“Identity your passion and pursue it with all that you have.” This is the advice Masake has for young people in pursuit of their dreams.

“My admission to the list of professional investigators of the ICC is one of the significant examples of the benefits of pursuing your passion.”

He added that this serves as assurance for criminal justice students and practitioners that choosing criminal justice or law as a career was not a mistake but rather “by design”.

“The possibilities and benefits are not limited to national borders but criminal justice practitioners can practise their profession beyond national borders and serve highly reputable institutions such as the ICC.”

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