The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) has dragged Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
According to a letter drafted by LPM leader, Bernardus Swartbooi, the political party is seeking the ICC’s intervention and investigation into Katjavivi’s conduct. Swartbooi made reference to Article 7 (h) and (k) of the ICC, which alludes to systematic attacks and inhumane acts as being equivalent to the “crimes being commissioned against” him and Seibeb. “The Speaker has withdrawn Hon. Henny Seibeb the Deputy Leader and Chief Whip in National Assembly and I the Leader of the Landless People’s Movement from National Assembly for an unlimited time-frame illegally and unconstitutionally,” states Swartbooi.
“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of the suppressive politics of SWAPO and the SWAPO Speaker, two of our elected National Council members have again been withdrawn without just cause and in contradiction of the principle of legality.” Swartbooi argued that the ICC has jurisdiction to intervene as Namibia acceded to the Rome Convention on 25th June 2002.
Namibia along with 122 other states are part of the Rome Statute of the ICC, which was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome in 1998 and enforced in July 2002. The ICC was established to investigate and, where warranted, try individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. “In essence therefore, the overall objective is to destroy any strong political alternative voice from emerging as a credible challenge to the ruling party. The crimes are of grave international concern and we therefore seek the Office of the Prosecutor to register and investigate this matter as one of urgency, in the interest of justice, ” papers to the ICC read.
LPM’s decision to take the Speaker of Parliament to an international court comes as the party recently appealed to the Supreme Court a decision by the High Court to dismiss Seibeb and Swartbooi’s application against a decision by Katjavivi to bar them from Parliament.
The ICC, headquartered at The Hague in The Netherlands, confirmed receipt of LPM’s request, stating, “The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court acknowledges receipt of your documents/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,” Head of Information & Evidence Unit in the Office of The Prosecutor, Mark P. Dillon wrote.
“Please note this acknowledgement letter does not mean an investigation has been opened, nor that an investigation will be opened by the Office of the Prosecutor.
As soon as a decision is reached, we will inform you, in writing, and provide you with reasons for this decision.”
The two LPM Members of Parliament were barred indefinitely from returning to Parliament proceedings by Katjavivi after they were found to have been disruptive following President Hage Geingob’s delivery of the state of the nation address.