Statement on the impeachment of Justices Dingake, Letsididi, Garakwe and Busang of the High Court of Botswana

Vlag BotswanaRecalling that at its General Assembly on 19 September 2015, the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA) expressed its concern about the processes put in place to impeach the Justices of the High Court mentioned above.

Recalling the CMJA Statement issued on 3 October 2015 in relation to the suspension of Justices Dingake, Letsididi, Garakwe and Busang and the concerns expressed therein.

Recalling the provisions of the Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the Accountability of and the Relationship between the Three Branches of Government (2003) which state that “Disciplinary proceedings which might lead to the removal of a judicial officer should include appropriate safeguards to ensure fairness”.

Whilst not wishing to comment on current court cases which will run their normal course, the CMJA is concerned that the authorities in Botswana seem to be treating some judges more favourably than others and this gives the impression that there is a lack of equality before the law.

Any measure which is capable of being seen as eroding the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, or the fundamental rights to which all citizens of Botswana are entitled to, is a matter of serious concern and could undermine the international standing of the Botswana judiciary.

We therefore call upon the Botswana authorities to ensure that all processes followed are dealt with in a just and equitable manner to resolve the issues quickly to safeguard the good reputation of the Botswana judiciary for independence and impartiality.

Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA)
Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA)
Judges for Judges (Rechters voor Rechters), Netherlands

16 June 2016