ICC must investigate Geingob – LPM

27 May 2021 | Politics

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK

The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi has lodged a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) demanding a fast-tracked investigation against President Hage Geingob for targeting the party as well as for the “heinous war crimes” of Lubango.

Swartbooi informed the ICC that LPM was unable to access fair trials in the Namibian courts as justice in Namibia is reserved for Swapo, who with its functionaries allegedly controls the court system in the country.

According to Swartbooi it is important that the ICC deal with Geingob’s investigation swiftly so that “further damage to the constitutional values, the sanctity of peace and development of society can be facilitated without delay or hindrance”.

In a letter to the chief prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, Swartbooi claimed that LPM members have been inflicted emotional, physical and emotional trauma as a result of LPM being targeted as a political opposition party, as a direct instruction from Geingob or at least under his knowledge.

According to Swartbooi, the crimes committed against LPM are deliberate with the purpose to injure and curtail, if not fundamentally destroy, their right to free political activity.

“I also rush to remind your offices that the Swapo Party now headed by Geingob is known as having killed over five thousand Namibians in Angola at a place known as Lubango, by placing these citizens in a dungeon, during the liberation struggle.

“For these heinous war crimes against humanity Swapo has never taken remedial action, nor shown contrition to the families who wish to hear of the fate of their loved ones.

“This aforementioned political culture and tradition sets Swapo and its leaders apart as ready and prepared to eliminate citizens en masse to achieve political outcomes,” Swartbooi wrote.

Swartbooi emphasised that these crimes were of grave international concern and must be registered by the ICC as a matter of urgency.

Presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari said they had not seen this letter, and dismissed the claims as “outrageous”.

Abuse in National Assembly

The LPM also beseeched the ICC to investigate the Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi, for crimes against humanity, claiming that he had made the NA “a nefarious space” for members of parliament to work in.

“The Speaker has withdrawn Hon. Henny Seibeb, the deputy leader and chief whip in National Assembly and me, the leader of the Landless People's Movement, from the National Assembly for an unlimited time-frame illegally and unconstitutionally. As part of the suppressive politics of Swapo and the Swapo Speaker, two of our elected National Council members have again been withdrawn without just cause and in contradiction of the principle of legality,” said Swartbooi.

He added that launching an investigation into Katjavivi would be in the interest of justice, as a great number of Namibians' lives were threatened and their constitutional rights were being violated at in intensifying pace as the Speaker acted as a law unto himself.

Simon Uirab in the Speaker’s office said they had not yet seen these complaints and were waiting to be notified.

Mark Dillon, head of the Information and Evidence Unit in the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC, acknowledged having received the letter.

“This communication has been duly entered in the communications register of the office. We will give consideration to this communication, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” he said.

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