AU human rights court criticised over ‘devastating’ SADC Tribunal decision

via AU human rights court criticised over ‘devastating’ SADC Tribunal decision | SW Radio Africa  by Alex Bell on Friday, March 7, 2014 

The decision by Africa’s top human rights court to allow the deliberate hobbling of the Southern African regional Tribunal has been described as a ‘devastating’ indictment of justice on the continent.

The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has rejected a complaint filed by Zimbabwe farmers, who have been fighting to get the regional SADC Tribunal fully reinstated. The human rights court was suspended in 2011 after ruling against Robert Mugabe in 2008 when it declared the land grab campaign unlawful.

The farmers, Ben Freeth and Luke Tembani, both victims of that campaign, cited 14 SADC leaders in its complaint to the Commission. The landmark application was based in part on two articles within the African Charter on human rights, a binding piece of African Union (AU) law, which explicitly state that no AU members can prevent their citizens from accessing justice at national courts.

But the Commission has rejected the application on the technicality that the articles in the Charter refer only to national courts, and not regional courts like the SADC Tribunal.

Freeth told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the Commission’s decision is a “heavy blow” for human rights.

“It is a cop out by the Commission and says that it is ultimately only there to rubber stamp decisions of the EU executive. It has lost huge credibility as a result of this decision,” Freeth said.

He added that there is much speculation about the Commission’s decision being influenced by the AU’s decision to appoint Mugabe to a top position in the AU council last year. That development, which puts Mugabe in line to take over the chairmanship of the AU in 2015, coincided with the Commission’s decision.

“It is an absolute farce when the respondent in a case is ultimately someone determining the outcome of the case. And it is a mockery of justice in Africa,” Freeth said.


  • comment-avatar
    mucha 9 years ago

    This Rhodie Freeth should go hang. They had been plundering natural resouces in Zimbabwe for a whole century, including murdering our fathers and mothers at Nyadzonya, Chimoio, Tembwe, Freedom Camp and many places.
    They have no right to lecture on human rights in Zimbabwe when they were condoning the massacre of the Ndebeles during the Gukurahundi period. Now they see the abuse because they had lost the farms they had stolen.

    • comment-avatar
      Doris 9 years ago

      Wash your mouth out – you are talking gibberish.

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      Kevin Watson 9 years ago

      Ben Freeth was a child when those incidents happened. He never owned a farm in Rhodesia. So you are a stupid, ill educated, racist idiot.

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      Havanyani 9 years ago

      Mucha, let not your valid observations blind you to the asinine nature of regional human rights governance.

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    Sekuru Mapenga 9 years ago

    The rule of law and justice in Africa is under threat from our leaders and presidents. Great liberators, every one! or so they would have us believe.

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    apolitical 9 years ago

    Alex Bell rally need to take legal advice prior to writing rubbish. Due to the clueless account I will attempt to educate with the facts, propaganda does comply with historic fact.
    Firstly countries need to consent to the jurisdiction of any court and Zimbabwe didn’t approve it had no right to judge a situation and as even the court failed to realize the irregularity it shows the judicial administration of the SADC court were equally negligent.
    Now the real HUMAN RIGHTS story and it needs to start from the background.
    At independence it was agreed that all agricultural land would revert to the Zimbabwe government in 1990 – the British government claimed it didn’t have the money to pay compensation in 1980.
    In effect all agricultural land was sold donated by the British GOVERNMENT which was illegal in terms of a Lords decision stating no one could own land in the then Rhodesia declared foreign land. This case was brought by the Compagnia de Mocambique against Rhodes.
    When a colony was formed Rhodes a[pplied for compensation, using the same judgment the foreign and commonwealth office only paid for improvements.
    Receiving the compensation against commonwealth directives the government of Rhodesia made up of former BSA company employees started issuing illegal title deeds.
    Laterally as depicted and recorded in the national archives funds were remitted to UK for land sold.
    Inm 2000 after an accelerated land reform program when Britain HAD FAILED/ NEGLECTED to compensate former commercial farmers , Robin Cook announced a compensation fund in the British Parliament. The propaganda at that time was that Britain had already paid some compensation which was a lie as the funds were in the form of aid to benefit the rural poor.
    Sio ewe had legislation that stated Britain were responsible for compensation AND Britain formed a fund. The fund was kept quiet by the local CFU and JAG in return for all expenses paid by the local British embassy. In fact farmers who wished to claim were told theyb would be black listed if any compensation funds became available. – the threats/intimidation worked and no claim has ever been siubmitted for compensation.
    In international law the law of the country in which the land is situate becomes international law, thus no no international lawyers were necessary.
    As a smoke screen cases were brought in numerous countries with no jurisdiction, and lawyers were paid tom promote the scam.
    Ben Freeth was one of those easily conned.
    In fact if a case was taken locally which would easily succeed with the previous legislation the made Britain responsible it could then be brought to the Bruseels Convention for the enforcement of JAudment which stated provide a case had been properly served foreign judgments should simply be served on EU countries without further argument, and to which Britain is a signatory.
    The current President and Chairman with their lawyer stated in answer to the above – we have taken advice and it is correct but Britain are our friends (they pay their salaries) when we have exhausted all other avenues we will do it. All other avenues are without jurisdiction. It is sad that the in house lawyer at CFU was employed tom remove Britain’s liability from the new constitution to protect those involved in fraud and ensure salaries and perks. The new constitution has eliminated that clause, amazing how HAUMAN Rights can be manipulated with money in Zimbabwe by journalists and LOCAL Human Rights organisations.
    Those doubters and propaganda journalists need to look at other countries such ads Angola for direction. The former Portuguese farmers sued Portugal and lost and then went to the EU ombudsman who said you have done everything correctly and would have a case in the Eu court except that you didn’t take their case first in Angola and second unfortunately Portugal was not an EU member at the time.
    Britain was av member and the case may be taken to court locally.
    In terms of British law it is effectively a CPO which means in addition to the real value of land and improvements you are also entitled to 3 tears turnover and relocation allowance.
    So you could try and take the British government to the Human Rights Courts,
    Please will someone give Freeth proper legal advice before he runs out of money paying lawyers to fight spurious cases, its shameful that lawyers read nonsense accounts like the above without comment- maybe they think its too stupid.
    Its simple, just give your claim to the local British Ambassador against the compensation fund, don’t complain of laws you clearly have no comprehension of.
    Finally in spite of the propaganda in the article above, factually no person has ever been denied the right to sue Britain for compensation, once again a propaganda issue as opposed to a Human Rights Issue.

    • comment-avatar
      Doris 9 years ago

      Yawn! Learn the facts of history before putting pen to paper. Just keep your figures crossed that you have no need to call on the SADC Tribunal for help. Remember it wasn’t,t just for white Africans. Mugabe originally thought it was a good idea until it was turned against him.

      • comment-avatar
        apolitical 9 years ago

        Not sure what facts you refer to and what Mugabe thought was a good idea.
        Factually, and you may have to study history before you refer to it.
        In 2000 at the first attempt at a new constitution at the adoption of same at the Sheriton co,mplaints were addressed to a Mr John Deary after its adoption by the Judge President and the refusal to listen to objections.
        He said to those taking coffee outside the hall. Please don’t rock the boat we had to do it that way. The whole objective was to protect McNally and Gubbay, they are our friends.
        At the time corruption/murder at their level was discussed by the anti corruption committee.
        In terms of the new constitution they cant be suspended or fired, we were successful.
        We offered to fast track land reform which was accepted and will help form the union into, an opposition party as the white farmers will fund it. Someone has to lose in any negotiation.
        Unfortunately Mugabe will be in for another term but that’s life
        The idea factually to fast track land reform was a deal to protect the crooked legal fraternity and the plan can be seen by reading the issue of the legal forum directly before the draft was prepared.
        Of course there will be those who believe the propaganda.
        What can you do in a country where even when Zesa provides power cuts and complains of lack of power but there are those who say I want a prepaid meter to pay in advance for nothing and the news media thinks its a good idea!

  • comment-avatar
    Nyoni 9 years ago


  • comment-avatar
    Charles Chamunorwa 9 years ago

    African leaders don’t want Justice that’s why they hate the ICC

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    William Doctor 9 years ago

    The GDP of the entire GDP of the AU is the same of that of the UK.

    Africa is medieval, and irrelevant.

    • comment-avatar
      word writer 9 years ago

      I warned the commercial farmers union well before the land invasions that their anti community, arrogance and lack of respect for communal land farmers and farm workers would result in Mugabe removing the white commercial farmers from the land. I quote them, we don’t want to hear this’ ben freeth, the CFU directors were wooden headed and blinded by success and arrogance. The sword of judgment has fallen.

      The british took the land by force from a people who had been living there for 1000 years, and you are surprised that after 100 years these same people took back their country and their land by force. let me tell you Ben freeth, that God himself was tired of the arrogance of the white commercial farmers, tired of their anti social attitude, tired of the beating of labour with their fists [I know personally of two workers who died under the fists of their employers], tired of trip wires in maize fields connected to shot guns that killed ‘thieves’trying to gather a few cobs to fill their empty stomachs.

      There was a clash of civilizations and the Rhodesian mini-civilization and its colonial and neo colonial farmers have been defeated and is fading from history. Dont fight the inevitable, and don’t fight God. He is determined to remove these people from their thousand acre farms

      Give up ben. Stop spending your money and other people’s money. Let go. Your culture has been judged by the living God as unjust and unworthy of possessing their farms. The more you fight, the more it will exhaust you emotionally and economically. You will end up being totally discredited.