High treason charge constitutional - judge

2012-07-24 19:18
<a href=\http://www.shutterstock.com\>Shutterstock</a>


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - The crime of high treason was reconcilable with the Constitution and did not violate any constitutional rights of the accused in the Boeremag treason trial, the trial judge has ruled.

Judge Eben Jordaan on Tuesday rejected argument by the 22 accused that the description of high treason was so wide that it violated several of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

He said the Constitution granted rights and responsibilities to the state, its structures and its citizens, and specifically forbade citizens to take part in an armed struggle.

The principle of allegiance to the state was not in conflict with or excluded by the Constitution, he said.

Judge Jordaan said the crime of high treason was recognised in several European countries, as well as in the USA and Canada.

The 22 accused in the treason trial were not accused of minor political deeds, but of forming an organisation and recruiting others to overthrow the existing government - and committing serious, violent crimes in the process.

They were accused of the large-scale manufacture of explosives and causing a series of bomb explosions which killed a person and caused damage worth millions of rands.

They were also accused of attempting to murder former president Nelson Mandela while on the run from police.

These were violent criminal actions that ran counter to the supremacy of the law and attacked the very foundation of democracy.

Armed struggle for self-determination was unconstitutional and violated the Constitution.

It could only be achieved within the bounds of the Constitution through negotiation and could only be accomplished through national legislation, the judge said.

He said there was no indication that the accused had tried to negotiate the right to self-determination. Their defence of the accused, who are white, was in fact that they were preparing themselves against an armed attack by blacks.

The judge further ruled that the accused's right to a fair trial had not been violated in any way.

He said the length of the trial could largely be laid at the door of the accused, who launched over 40 separate applications complaining about anything from the lights in the cells to the music in jail.

Many of the accused had numerous legal representatives during the course of the nine-year trial, which had resulted in further delays.

The applications included an attack on the legality of the Constitution, the jurisdiction of the court and an application for the judge and the leader of the prosecution to withdraw from the trial.

A belated application by three of the accused to be declared "prisoners of war" also took up many months.

The accused denied all of the charges at the start of the trial and many of them only changed their versions and made certain admissions many years later.

A total of 194 witnesses testified for the state, and many state witnesses spent months in the witness box.

Judge Jordaan also rejected the accused's claims that they did not have a fair trial because the State opposed bail for some.

They also claimed the fact that they were transported with loud sirens to court every day and that some were forced to wear chains in court violated their right to humane treatment, and created the impression that they were dangerous.

Judgment continues.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Behind the sparkle

Alluring, beautiful and timeless - diamonds are some of the most sought after gems in the world and are a true testament of everlasting brilliance. Let us take you behind the sparkle to show you the history behind this coveted jewel.

Embracing sustainability in tobacco agriculture

In Sub-Saharan Africa, farming represents a subsistence lifestyle for millions of people. In recent years though, the development of farming into an economic activity has made a real change in how the land is used in providing for the population.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.