SOUTH AFRICA: GOVERNMENT TO DEPORT BOTSWANA MURDERERS TO FACE DEATH SENTENCE
June 15, 2016: The government of South Africa decided to amend the Treaty on Extradition Act facilitating extradition requests from Botswana in cases where the death penalty is a possible sentence.
This comes after years of tension between the two neighbouring countries in relation to matters of extradition in murder cases.
According to the minutes from the government portal, âThe aim is for more effective cooperation between South Africa and Botswana so as to facilitate the extradition requests received from Botswana where the death penalty is a possible sentence.â
Previously it had been reported that some suspected murder accused persons cross the border to South Africa to avoid prosecution. South Africa abolished capital punishment 21 years ago.
âThis underscores that South Africa will not be a safe haven for criminals by providing for the extradition of fugitives and to facilitate the effectiveness of law-enforcement authorities in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crimes,â South Africa believes.
Before the recent proposal to amend the act, the South African Extradition Law on the Death Penalty prohibited the extradition of accused persons to countries that impose the death sentence.
The South African Constitutional Court abolished the death penalty in 1995. In Botswana however capital punishment is legal. Just in May 2016 Patrick Gabaakanye became the 49th person to be hanged since Botswana gained its independence.
The earliest and perhaps most profiled case that led to division between Botswana and South Africa was the hanging of South African Mariette Bosch in 2001. Despite petitions by her husband and South Africa, Botswana under the then President, Festus Mogae, went ahead and executed Bosch.
Another example is that of Edwin Samotse, a wanted murder-accused who was deported back to his home country, Botswana, where he could face the death penalty. In September 2014, the Pretoria High Court ruled that the August 2014 extradition of Samotse to Botswana was illegal. (Sources: www.mmegi.bw, 17/06/2016)