Calls grow to name torture perpetrators after landmark SA ruling

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.”



  • comment-avatar

    Parirerenytwa should be hauled up first

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    Harper 8 years ago

    sadly two of my torturers are dead, one of natural causes and one was accidented by a chef. the others can continue to fret while i enjoy life. it would be nice to see them convicted but i could not really care.

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    mambo 8 years ago

    Lets expose the current crop of Ministers, Parirerenytwa and Matiza on the stand first, then Mwale and then take your pick………….

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    Bazur Wa kuMuzi 8 years ago

    The call for evidence now is a bit worrying. Di’nt the courts come to their conclusion after getting enough evidence that there had been tortures by generals or who ever? There should be real evidence, genuine substance and not the usual exegerated lies of arms chopping that cannot be found. This is an opportunity to tell in a court of law how vicious perpetrators of violence against fellow citizens committed acts of aggression. Even the evidence against generals is not easy to produce as they usually do not interogate themselves. Lies like the one I have read saying “Minister so and so was there when I was being tortured” are too cheap to investigate. So I thought that the organizations had convinced the courts that there were tortures that the Zimbabwean government is refusing to investigate to protect Zanupf supporters. Looking for evidence now may make the court decision a joke. Someone can deliberately send a grossly distorted evidence to defeat the whole purpose.

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    Parangeta 8 years ago

    Mugabe first, others small fry!

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    Harper 8 years ago

    between November 1986 and January 1988, as spokesman for detainees in chikurubi, i interviewed every new arrival and recorded details of their torture. several were not questioned by their torturers and on asking why they were being harmed were told – “because you were picked”. in other words the initial beatings were to maintain the fear in the general population of the cio.