Tomana wasting court's time: Chidyausiku

HARARE - Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku yesterday said Johannes Tomana’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is wasting the court’s time by seeking a court order assuring murder suspects who fled to South Africa that they will not receive a death penalty if extradited.

This follows a demand by South Africa for Zimbabwe to make an undertaking that murder suspects would not be hanged if extradited.

Tomana made the application after South Africa refused to extradite Joshua Dube, accused of armed robbery and rape.

Dube fled to South Africa but was eventually arrested in 2009. However, efforts to have him brought back into the country to face trial were hampered after South Africa, which does not recognise the death penalty, asked assurance from the Zimbabwean government that the suspect would not get capital punishment.

This prompted Tomana to file a Constitutional Court application in September last year asking the court to give an order for an undertaking that death penalty would not be imposed on the fugitives.

Chidyausiku, through the chief registrar Munamato Mutevedzi, wrote to the NPA, advising it that it was not competent to grant the order that was being sought.

“It is not competent for the Constitutional Court to grant the order sought,” Chidyausiku said. “Accordingly there is no point in setting this matter down except to waste the court’s time.”

It was the NPA’s contention that if government was not going to make such an undertaking, it meant that suspects were going to flee to South Africa.

The NPA further said that there were several other extradition requests between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

“The fundamental issue is that if this honourable court does not intervene, there is a real possibility that all murder suspects who have found hibernation in South Africa will not be extradited to Zimbabwe to face justice,” the NPA said.

The Zimbabwean Constitution does not provide for capital punishment for male murder convicts under 21 and over 70 at the time of the commission of the offence, while women are exempted from capital punishment.

Comments (6)

I differ with the new constitution on murder charges rendered between men and women. Why do you hang male murderers and not female murderers?. The increase in recent years of husbands being killed by their wifes has gone on the increase due to this discriminatory piece of Legislation. Citing as examples between January and February, one husband was sprinkled paraffin and set ablaze by his wife and died.One men in Chitungwiza was intoxicated and then stabbed three times and then died due to serious injuries. These women know that they are exempt from death sentence because of this selective constitution,so can go on killing their husbands. I call upon all Law makers to put their heads together and rectify the situation before it becomes uncontrollable.

Jemious Mundonda - 14 March 2015

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