via Calls grow to name torture perpetrators after landmark SA ruling | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell December 2, 2013
With pressure building on South Africa’s prosecuting authorities to investigate incidents of state sanctioned torture in Zimbabwe, calls are growing for the names of the alleged perpetrators to be revealed.
Last week, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a landmark order for the prosecuting authorities there to investigate crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe. The original order was made by the High Court, which said that South Africa’s police and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), had a duty under its international obligations to probe serious crimes, even if those crimes are not committed within its borders.
The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld this last week, ruling that the NPA and police’s refusal to undertake an investigation was “unlawful, inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid.” The ruling further noted that the crimes, detailed in a dossier submitted to the NPA in 2008, strike “at the whole of humankind and impinge on the international conscience.”
The dossier detailed the torture of MDC activists in 2007 at the hands of ZANU PF perpetrators who, according to the document, travel frequently to South Africa. The dossier implicates 18 ZANU PF officials and military generals in torture and human rights abuses, after a violent raid on the MDC’s offices. More than 100 people were taken into custody, including people who were working nearby. MDC linked individuals were detained in police custody for several days where they were continuously tortured, facing mock executions, waterboarding and the use of electric shocks.
The ruling last week was only about the investigative powers of the police and NPA and not the final word on the contents of the dossier itself. Gabriel Shumba, who heads the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum which compiled the dossier, said that no time lines for an investigation have been determined by the courts, with the ruling focusing more on the powers the police and NPA have to investigate the crimes
“It would simply mean that there would be a need for the two organisations who have taken the case this far to approach the (prosecuting authorities) with an attempt to come to terms with the modus operandi of an investigation,” Shumba told SW Radio Africa.
He called on more people who have evidence that can be compiled to support their case, to come forward, saying there is a better chance of a successful investigation if there is a lot of evidence to present to the NPA.
He added: “I am calling upon individuals and organisations that can assist with this noble cause of curbing impunity to collaborate with us to ensure we make the world a much better place for the voiceless.”