You are here

First preliminary report by Silas Nkanunu, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The delegates Observation Reports on the Process – Oury Jalloh Trial in Dessau.

First preliminary report by Silas Nkanunu, Port Elizabeth, South Africa Member of the International Delegation of the Oury Jalloh Initiative.

Germany, as a country, ranks among the most developed countries - politically, economically and socially. She is a signatory to, inter alia, United Nations Human Rights Charter, the Geneva Convention etc., - International instruments whose signatories undertake, amongst other things, to adhere and uphold the protection of human rights.

Refugees wherever they originate and irrespective of colour, race and creed, are human beings and are entitled to protection under law. They are, invariable, victims of oppression and exploitation in their country of origin and seek asylum in another country primarily to consolidate their struggle against their oppressors at the country of origin.

In South Africa, Blacks were dehumanised; confined to ghettos; freedom of movement restricted through past laws; prohibited from white areas after specified hours - curfew; access to public buildings demarcated specifically for the privileged and another for the oppressed; business premises for the oppressed outside the ghettos prohibited - just to name a few. Needless to state that one would not expect such practices in first world countries like Germany.

The Oury Jalloh incident and the apparent general plight of refugees especially from Africa, in Germany calls for, in my view, a well co-ordinated, sustained and coalesced all inclusive activity, e.g. United Nations Human Rights Forum lobbying as well as other Human Rights Organisations throughout the world but specifically European Union
Countries; Targeting certain E.U. Countries Embassies or consulates in Germany; Preparing memoranda and organising marches to targeted Embassies in Germany where the memos would be presented and soliciting comment therefrom - all these activities would be intended to bring pressure upon the German Government to act.

The on going trial at Dessau may not in itself, in my view irrespective of the outcome, bring about drastic changes on the status of refugees in Germany. It may possibly highlight lack of application and compliance by the German Government to International Conventions to which Germany is a party. Also, possible highlight lack of transformation of relevant government institutions.

Countries like Germany that proclaim democracy ought to subscribe and demonstrate by act and deed a commitment to the core values of the democracy, social justice and fundamental human rights. The courts likewise ought to uphold these rights without favour or fear and express themselves unequivocally in ensuring that the rule of law is unimpeded by the executive, legislature and state organs.


I have refrained from addressing the trial specifically as I consider the matter to be sub-judice. However, it would appear, thus far, that the police have closed ranks even though a smoking gun exists. The mere death in the custody of the police is a serious indictment; the lack of a proper enquiry by an independent body affront to the German Legal System. One consolation though is the able and successful exposure of mal-practices by the police by the family lawyers especially in view of the apparent bias demonstrated the bench earlier when the roommate of the deceased testified.