judgment delays

Why the long wait for Zambia's supreme court death penalty decision?

After a cattle-rustling raid into Zambia by uniformed Angolan soldiers armed with assault rifles, a local man has been convicted and sentenced to death. It is an unusual case for several reasons: armed border raids seldom result in a conviction, for example. But it is also significant because it shows the Supreme Court, Zambia's highest legal forum, taking more than four years to deliver judgment.

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WHEN a group of armed and uniformed Angolan soldiers crossed into Zambia on 27 April 2000, kidnapped some local people and forced them to help drive their own cattle back over the border, few would have imagined anything would come of it.

And yet, some time later, one of the cattle rustlers – a man well known in the Zambian border area where the incident took place – was arrested, charged, tried and sentenced to death.

A country waits: when will Zimbabwe’s constitutional court give its long-delayed decision?

PROMPT delivery of decisions is seen as so important that some African countries even discipline judges who do not give judgments within a reasonable time. But in Zimbabwe, the constitutional court has still failed to hand down a crucial judgment two years and eight months after hearing. This in a country where the maximum delay tolerated by the judicial code of ethics is six months.

WHILE the country waits, Zimbabwe’s constitutional court judges are still considering whether to tell parliament it must obey the constitution.

The court’s delay follows a case brought by the local legal information organization, Veritas, complaining that a key section of the constitution had not been implemented more than five years after the country’s supreme law came into effect in 2013.

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