Heal Zimbabwe takes Minister of Justice to Court

via Heal Zimbabwe takes Minister of Justice to Court – The Zimbabwean 14/01/2016

On 13 January 2016, Heal Zimbabwe took the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to the Constitutional Court over delays in providing an effective and independent mechanism for receiving and investigating complaints from members of the public about the misconduct of the part of members of the security services in compliance with Section 210 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

The decision to take the Minister to court was necessitated by the government’s delay in providing an Act of Parliament that sets up the complaints mechanism against members of the security services 2 years after the new constitution became operational.

The constitutional court case come at a time when Heal Zimbabwe is continuing to witness and record cases of brutality by the security services such as the police against innocent civilians and human rights defenders. Of particular interest, victims of the 2008 political violence have not yet received justice or compensation for the inhumane treatment and abuse they suffered at the hands of security personnel who were leading a crusade of eliminating opposition supporters and human rights defenders during the violent 2008 elections. Recently, security personnel have been used to assault vendors during demonstrations. On 4 January 2016, police heavily assaulted and arrested members of Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) who were demonstrating against the failure and delays by the government to remunerate civil servants.

Despite the constitution compelling security services to protect and secure the lives and property of people, the abuse of innocent civilians has continued unabated. The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), a constitutional body responsible for post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation is yet to be operationalized.

Presiding over the case, Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba reserved the judgement over the case implying that he will deliver his ruling at a later date to be advised.