Wouter Basson sentencing to begin

By Drum Digital
19 January 2015

Sentencing proceedings of apartheid-era chemical warfare expert Dr Wouter Basson are expected to start in Pretoria today.

Sentencing proceedings of apartheid-era chemical warfare expert Dr Wouter Basson are expected to start in Pretoria on Monday.

The sentencing had previously been postponed twice.

Basson was found guilty of unprofessional conduct by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) in December 2013, following a six-year long inquiry.

The HPCSA professional conduct committee chairman Prof Jannie Hugo ruled that Basson contravened international protocols and conventions.

These were the Geneva Declaration of 1948 and the UN convention on the prohibition of and stockpiling of dangerous weapons.

No medical doctor could claim ignorance of their expected professional behaviour, Hugo said at the time.

The inquiry was held to determine whether Basson acted unethically in the exercise of his duties as a chemical warfare expert.

In his defence, Basson presented nine arguments in which he claimed he acted as a soldier and not a doctor, and that he was not aware of the ethics.

The inquiry related to Basson's involvement in Project Coast, between the 1980s and early 1990s.

Basson was accused of acting unethically by being involved in the large-scale production of Mandrax, cocaine and teargas, of weaponising teargas, and of supplying it to Angola's Unita leader Jonas Savimbi.

He is also accused of acting unethically by providing disorientating substances for cross-border kidnappings and making cyanide capsules available for distribution to operatives for use in committing suicide.

In 2002, Basson was acquitted by the High Court in Pretoria of criminal charges arising from his conduct.

The HPCSA reviewed the judgment to establish if there were grounds to continue with an inquiry.

The State appealed against the decision of the high court in the Supreme Court of Appeal, but the appeal was dismissed.

The State then went to the Constitutional Court, but the case was dismissed in September 2005.

Source : Sapa

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