The Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has requested the President to reconsider his decision and give assurances to South African authorities that murder suspects who are extradited from South Africa will not be sentenced to death, if convicted.
The request came during the just ended extradition conference that was held at the Gaborone Sun in which six South African Development Committee (SADC) countries participated.
Merapelo Mokgosi of DPP said, “It has emerged that some murder suspects who have committed such crimes in Botswana skip to South Africa where they know they would not be extradited because of the decision that the government of Botswana has taken.”
Mokgosi added, “Although the government has taken such a decision, it makes our work very difficult as prosecutors therefore we would like to ask if the president can reconsider his decision on the matter.”
She further said they are aware that both South Africa and Botswana are in discussion about the matter but the DPP is hopeful that a decision will be reached.
Another prosecutor, Thato Dipeela, of DPP, said there are some countries which take a long time to respond when one country needs assistance and that affects either the investigation of the case or the extradition of the suspect or suspects.
Currently, there are about six murder suspects who are taking cover in South Africa yet they are badly wanted in Botswana to face murder charges but the suspects can not be extradited because of the decision that the government has taken not to give the assurances that South Africa wants.
However, South African Police Service legal advisor, Motlalepula Rantho, said, “There is nothing that South Africa can do if the government of Botswana does not change its decision?”
She added: “Before we can extradite a suspect either to Botswana or to any other country that has death penalty, the president of such country has to make an assurance that that particular suspect or suspects will not be sentenced to death but if that assurance has not be made therefore as the South African authority, we will not allow the suspects to be extradited.”
The minister of Defense, Justice and Security, Ramadeluka Seretse, said, “Two years ago the government of Botswana took a decision to stop signing any undertakings for murder suspects who have to be extradited from South Africa to Botswana.”
He explained that the government feels that it is unjust that while two people have committed murder one who skips to South Africa will be given a lighter sentence while the other, who stayed to face the consequences of his crime, is hanged.”