THE government and the European Union (EU) are in talks over possible EU assistance to enable Lesotho to engage foreign judges by September this year, the Lesotho Times has established.
The foreign judges will try the high profile criminal cases involving members of the security agencies.
They are scheduled to arrive in Lesotho by September in time to hear cases including those of the former army commander, Lieutenant General, Tlali Kamoli; Lesotho Congress for Democracy’s (LCD) Deputy Leader, Tšeliso Mokhosi and the former Police Commissioner, Molahlehi Letsoepa.
The EU Head of Cooperation, Markus Theobald, and the Attorney General, Haae Phoofolo yesterday confirmed, in separate interviews with the Lesotho Times, that the two sides were in talks over EU assistance in the recruitment of foreign judges.
However, both parties refused to give details of their discussions.
Mr Markus said the EU was ready to assist Lesotho “to achieve lasting peace, security and political stability as well as to complement SADC’s support to the country”.
“The EU is ready to consider supporting SADC when the latter responds to a request from the Lesotho government for the provision of foreign judges to preside over certain high profile cases.”
On his part, Advocate Phoofolo said “we now know that the trial dates have been set and the government is in talks with the EU but we still don’t have the names of the judges who will be engaged”.
“The government has also committed to engaging three foreign judges whose names and other details are yet to be announced,” Adv Phoofolo said.
AG Phoofolo also said that he was aware that dates had been set for the trials of Lt-Gen Kamoli, Mr Mokhosi and Mr Letsoepa among others.
High Court judge, Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo, recently set Tuesday set 4 to 7 September 2018 as the trial dates for the case in which Mr Mokhosi and Mr Letsoepa stand accused of murdering Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng two years ago.
The duo is charged alongside four other police officers, namely, Senior Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu, Superintendent Mothibeli Mofolo, Inspector Mabitle Matona and Police Constable Haleokoe Taasoane.
The four officers are currently on suspension from the police service and they are still detained at the Maseru Maximum Security Prison.
Justice Nomngcongo also set 9 to 12 October this year as the dates when Lt-Gen Tlali will stand trial for the murder of Police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko at the Police Headquarters in Maseru during the attempted coup against the first government of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane on 30 August 2014.
Lt-Gen Kamoli is charged alongside Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Lance Corporal Motloheloa Ntsane and Lance Corporal Leutsoa Motsieloa.
In the second case, the former army chief faces 14 counts of attempted murder in connection with the 27 January 2014 simultaneous bombings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of First Lady Maesaiah Thabane and the Ha Abia residence of former police commissioner, Khothatso Tšooana.
The attempted murder case has been set for 16 to 19 October this year.
In this case, Lt-Gen Kamoli is charged alongside Major Pitso Ramoepane, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Sergeant Heqoa Malefane and Corporal Mohlalefi Seitlheko.