SWAKOPMUND - A new report on the Rape Act recommends that sentences for rape be increased and suggests punishment ranging from 15 to 25 years.
According to the report, since the death penalty cannot be meted out for both rape and attempted rape there is a need to send rapists and attempted rapists to jail for much longer terms.
The recommendations also clarify that no distinction should be made between attempted rape and rape since the two crimes amount to the same.
Dianne Hubbard, the coordinator of the Gender Research and Advocacy Project at the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC), supports the view that the two crimes are essentially the same.
“If [the perpetrator] wasn’t prevented, he would most probably still have committed the crime. It is not out of his own free will that he stops and that must also be taken into account,” she argues.
The report proposes that the current minimum sentence of five years imprisonment be increased to 10 years, while the 10 years sentence be increased to 15 years.
The report also suggests that the existing maximum sentence of 15 years be increased to 25 years.
Hubbard said the new sentences will send out a clear message to perpetrators and minimise rape incidents that are rife in Namibia.
The report was handed over to the Minister of Justice Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana for further scrutiny of the recommendations, before it is presented to Parliament in 2013 for debate and possible enactment.
Several instances took part in the compilation of the report, including the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC), law students from the University of Namibia, the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).