10 Sep 2019 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 10 SEP (NAMPA) Justice Minister Sacky Shangala is set to table the 2018 Combating of Rape Amendment Bill for debate during the sixth session of Parliament, which resumed here on Tuesday.
This was revealed by the Deputy Executive Director in the Ministry of Justice, Gladice Pickering, in an interview with Nampa on Tuesday, who said the bill comes at a time when the Namibian Police Force has recorded 26 rape cases involving minors in the country, between July and August this year.
She explained that the bill takes into account the protection of child witnesses or survivors and implores the court not to regard the testimony of a child as inherently unreliable simply because the witness is a minor.
The proposed legislation, she said, provides for additional duties to the prosecutor towards complainants.
A complainant in a rape case will now be informed of the development of the case, making the bill more sensitive towards rape survivors, Pickering said.
It further makes provision for the prosecutor in the proceedings to ensure that the complainant is informed if an accused who is in custody on a charge of rape, intends to apply to the court for bail.
Pickering further said the absence of physical evidence such as the rupture of the hymen or absence of semen will now not rule out the possibility that a rape did take place, compared to previously where the lack of evidence of injury was used as defence by an accused person that a rape did not take place.
The proposed amendment, she continued saying, makes attempted rape and the act of rape equally severe offences with the same prescribed sentence if an accused is found guilty.
It is important that the intention to rape be treated with the same severity as if the act had taken place, Pickering said.