Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School - Green Background

Country Details

  • Ts’epe v. Independent Electoral Commission and Others, Lesotho, Court of Appeal, 2005.
    In 2004 an amendment was introduced to the Local Government Elections Act 1998 (the “Amendment”) that reserved one third of all seats in every local council for women, the remainder was open to both men and women alike. The constitutionality of the electoral quota was challenged by a man whose candidacy for local government was rejected on the single ground that the electoral division at issue was reserved for women. The appellant argued that these measures are unconstitutional since women’s participation in local governments could have been achieved without debarring men from the same. The Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the court a quo, dismissed the appeal and held that the Amendment was not unconstitutional, among others, since the impugned measures were carefully designed to achieve its objective, they were rationally connected to the objective and impaired the appellant’s rights in question as little as possible.
  • Rex v. Tauhali and Another, Lesotho, High Court, 1999.
    Both of the accused were convicted of raping a 25 year-old woman when each took turns helping the other to rape the victim. The Court upheld the conviction and overturned the previous sentence of five years each to eight years, finding that gang rape calls for a higher sentence. 
  • Nkabane v. Nkabane, Lesotho, High Court, 1987.
    The plaintiff wife sought a decree of divorce on the grounds of the defendant's desertion on the grounds that the defendant abused her and drove her out of the matrimonial home to live with another woman.   The Court found that the defendant was previously married through Lesotho customary law to another woman at the time of the marriage to the plaintiff; thus, the defendant's marriage to the plaintiff was null and void.
  • Rex v. Rankhebe, Lesotho, High Court, 1987.
    The accused was convicted of raping an 11 year-old girl. The Court upheld the conviction and noted the presumption that girls under the age of 12 are considered too young to give their consent to intercourse whereas for girls between the ages of 12 and 16, it must be shown that there was non-consent for the accused to be convicted or rape. [Note: The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child/minor as any person under 18 years of age in the absence of domestic laws. Generally, minors do not have the capacity to give consent.]
  • Theko v. Theko, Lesotho, High Court, 1982.
    The plaintiff-wife sought the dissolution of her marriage to the defendant on the grounds of his previous marriage under the Sotho custom.   The Court declared the marriage to be null and void on the grounds that the plaintiff agreed to the marriage through fraud, believing that the defendant was unmarried at the time and would not have agreed to the marriage if she had known the truth.