Court of Appeal Deputy Master and Registrar, Michael Motlhabi, has rubbished allegations that the exclusion of Swaziland Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi on the list of judges who will be sitting on the September session of the Court of Appeal has anything to do with recent accusations leveled against him by civil societies in Botswana and Swaziland.
The Court of Appeal session is scheduled to start on 16 September.
Motlhabi said that they did not even think about the matter when they prepared the list of judges.
He said that what could have led to his exclusion is that there will be fewer cases in this session (only 13 criminal appeals and three civil appeals) whilst in the past they had a lot more cases justifying that more judges be invited.
Besides that, he said it could be that he was invited but could not come because of commitments as Chief Justice in Swaziland.
Motlhabi referred questions to Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo on whether it was right to continue inviting Ramodibedi to the Court of Appeal whilst he was facing accusations.
Dibotelo was not available to answer questions.
Ramodibedi has been a regular member of the Botswana Court of Appeal for the last three years.
The Law Society of Botswana recently expressed surprise about his continuing inclusion on the Court of Appeal whilst he was allegedly embroiled in a Swaziland political row where he is accused of having suspended a High Court judge Thomas Masuku.
The Court of Appeal session starting in September is scheduled to hear, amongst others, three death sentence appeals from the last four remaining death row inmates.
One of the three appeals will be from Gotlhalosamang Gabaokelwe who was found guilty of three murders and sentenced to double death sentences and 15 years imprisonment.
Another death sentence appeal will be from Mangombe Benjamin Tadubane and the last from Zibane Thamo.
Other appeals will be for crimes such as murder, rape and armed robberies.