‘No judgment attains perfection’: Tanzania's top court, considering major wildlife crime

Two men, found guilty of being in possession of almost two tons of elephant tusks, have just lost a third challenge in their case. The matter was brought before Tanzania’s court of appeal for a second time, with counsel urging the court, on review, to change its earlier decision on sentence. But the judges weren’t persuaded. They called the review a disguised appeal against sentence. The accused claimed the original appeal decision showed a ‘manifest error’ resulting in a miscarriage of justice. Not so, said the judges.

Read judgment

This story, involving a second hearing at Tanzania’s court of appeal, goes back 10 years, and starts with an intelligence report that there was a consignment of ‘government trophies’ at the home of the three men originally accused. Police followed them and received further information that the men under surveillance were ‘on the verge of picking up’ government trophies.

Tough new approach to sentencing in child rape cases

A significant development is under way in Malawi’s high court judgments on sentencing in child rape cases. Three new decisions by a couple of high court judges show a clear determination to treat such crimes with great seriousness and for sentencing to reflect the gravity of the crimes. The judges have also made significant critiques of aspects of defilement cases, with suggestions for what can be done to improve matters.

Ongwen sentenced by ICC: court’s intricate balancing task

Dominic Ongwen, a former child soldier captured by the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda and forced to join that militia, has been sentenced as an adult for the more than 60 counts of which he had been convicted by the International Criminal Court. Ongwen, found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity among others, escaped life imprisonment because of his unique personal circumstances, a reference to his childhood abduction.

Read majority judgment and dissenting on sentence

The International Criminal Court hearing the case against Dominic Ongwen, a senior officer in the Lord’s Resistance Army, had taken submissions on sentence from three different parties, each calling for a different term of imprisonment.


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