May 11, 2012 | GRAEME HOSKEN
The threat from the Johannesburg-based Zimbabwe Exile Forum was made a day after Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told parliament that an investigation into several Hawks officers was nearing completion.
Posted on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 13:10
09 May 2012 02:02 - AFP
Zimbabwe's justice minister has denounced a South African court's ruling
ordering an investigation of those accused of torturing Zanu-PF opponents.
“The ruling brings the South African justice system into disrepute. No
specifics have been identified, because they should have laid a blow-by-blow
account of what crime has been committed,” Patrick Chinamasa told state
media on Wednesday.
In a landmark judgment, the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday ruled that
authorities in South Africa can probe and prosecute not only high-level
crimes committed in neighbouring Zimbabwe, but anywhere else in the world.
The case centres on Zimbabwean officials accused of state-sanctioned torture
against scores of activists following a raid on the headquarters of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 2007.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is now the prime minister in a power-sharing
government with Mugabe.
His party hailed the decision.
“Torture is a barbaric instrument of dealing with issues of politics,”
spokesperson Nelson Chamisa told Agence France-Presse.
“For that reason it remains our wish that all people of Zimbabwe with
injured hearts and troubled minds are brought to restorative and
rehabilitative, as opposed to retributive, justice ... The pains of the past
will always haunt the stability of the future. It is vitally important that
things are brought to the table instead of being swept under the carpet.”
09 May 2012
Blessing Zulu | Washington
The South African prosecuting authority says it is considering appealing
Tuesday's High Court ruling compelling Pretoria to investigate and prosecute
Zimbabweans, in particular senior Zanu PF officials, suspected of crimes
Spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga of the South African National Prosecuting Authority
told VOA Wednesday they have two weeks to appeal the ruling.
He said the authority is currently discussing with the police on how best to
Judge Hans Fabricius ordered the NPA to prosecute Zimbabweans concerned if
they ever set foot in South Africa.
The case was brought to the courts by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre
along with the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, which represents many Zimbabweans who
say they fled to South Africa after being tortured by security agents for
supporting the Movement for Democratic Change.
The High Court decision could prod South Africa into investigations into
high-ranking Harare officials, a move many say would strain already
difficult diplomatic relations with the power-sharing government in
But speaking to state television Tuesday, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
said the decision is “a wish by the South African judge pushing an agenda of
former Rhodesians” whom he said want to effect regime change in Zimbabwe.
He said the decision will not be entertained by Zimbabwe.
“The ruling brings the South African justice system into disrepute,” said
“No specifics have been identified because they should have laid a blow to
blow account of what crime has been committed.
News Release – Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC)
8 May 2012
JOHANNESBURG – In a landmark decision for local and international justice,
the North Gauteng High Court ruled this morning that the South African
authorities must investigate Zimbabwean officials, who are accused of
involvement in torture and crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe.
“This judgment will send a shiver down the spines of Zimbabwean officials
who believed that they would never be held to account for their crimes but
now face investigation by the South African authorities,” said Nicole Fritz,
Executive Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which
brought the case along with the Zimbabwean Exiles Forum (ZEF).
In a very strong ruling, Judge Hans Fabricius said that the National
Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) had
acted unconstitutionally and unlawfully in not taking forward the original
investigation. His judgment also underlined in the strongest terms South
Africa’s obligations under international law.
“This decision is not just about Zimbabwe, it also sets a much broader
precedent by ruling that South African authorities have a duty to
investigate international crimes wherever they take place,” said Fritz. “It
is a major step forward for international criminal justice.”
In March 2012, SALC and ZEF argued in the High Court that the decision of
the NPA and SAPS not to investigate Zimbabwean officials linked to acts of
state-sanctioned torture should be set aside. Brought in terms of South
Africa’s International Criminal Court Act, which defines torture as a crime
against humanity, the applicants' argued that the NPA and SAPS had failed to
take into account South Africa’s international and domestic law obligations
to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of international crimes regardless
of where they are committed or by whom.
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|Information alert no.22|
Violence continues after the 27 June
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