Fresh Zim torture docket handed to SA authorities for investigation

via Fresh Zim torture docket handed to SA authorities for investigation | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell  December 3, 2013

A new dossier containing detailed accounts of torture and abuse at the hands of known ZANU PF perpetrators has been handed to South Africa’s prosecuting authorities, in the wake of a landmark ruling that compels this cross border probe.

The South African Supreme Court of Appeal last week set a precedent for the investigation of crimes against humanity committed outside its borders, after upholding a ruling by a lower court that compelled the authorities to investigate torture in Zimbabwe.

That ruling last year by the North Gauteng High Court was based on a dossier of evidence, submitted by the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum and the Southern African Litigation Centre, who handed over the document to the South African police and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in 2008. The dossier detailed the torture and abuse of scores of MDC activists at the hands of 18 named ZANU PF officials who were all regular travelers to South Africa.

But the NPA and the police refused to undertake an investigation, citing among other reasons potential diplomatic tensions between the two countries. The High Court however said that the prosecuting authorities were duty bound to investigate the crimes, because South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute.

The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld this ruling last week, opening the doors for other cases to be brought before the authorities. And on Monday a fresh dossier was handed to the police.

The new dossier, submitted by the civil rights initiative AfriForum and former Chegutu farmer turned activist Ben Freeth, contains detailed evidence of crimes against humanity committed by 58 known individuals in Zimbabwe. The dossier is based on 24 affidavits, with six from former commercial farmers and the rest from former farm workers, who suffered serious abuses during the ZANU PF led land grab campaign.

This includes vicious beatings, wrongful imprisonment in filthy, inhumane jails, the shooting of farm workers and farmers, the theft of homes, farmers’ and farm workers’ houses being set on fire or petrol bombed and death threats.

In one affidavit, seven labourers were picked up by police officers, beaten throughout the journey to a police station and while in custody were beaten with an armoured cable and batons. Other examples of torture committed included some victims being beaten over the head with a rifle butt which resulted in a fractured skull, or being beaten on the soles of the feet with a sjambok, logs, cables or iron bars. One of the farm workers reported being beaten over the head with an iron bar and then, after his attackers had urinated on him, they threw him onto a fire they had lit in an open pit.

The dossier also lists 58 named perpetrators, responsible either directly or as commanders of the abuses committed. Included in this list of 58 are government ministers, two members of Joint Operations Command (JOC), senior police officials, a senator, a previous government minister and his son, a Reserve Bank deputy governor, police officers of various ranks and army personnel.

Freeth told SW Radio Africa that based on the precedent set by the Supreme Court of Appeal, the South African police are now duty bound to investigate the crimes.

“The dossier shows very clearly what has been taking place, even since the (unity government) when many people have said that Zimbabwe came right. At the same time, what has happening was people were being tortured, their homes were burnt down, and people were being severely tortured in police custody. Crimes against humanity were taking place in a systematic process even when the unity government was in place,” Freeth said.

The dossier was handed to the police on Monday, and Freeth said that it has been passed on to the highest investigatory body in South Africa, the Hawks.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 14
  • comment-avatar

    Just like the hung after the nazi it’s now time for the zanoids. Mujuru terai ropa should be hounded first.

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    sipho zantsi 8 years ago

    Zimbabwe I believe you all not ready to turn this country into something else where there is no destiny among leaders and people. ZANU PF and MDC shouldn’t bring each other down. we are the same blood but where is peace?

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    Doris 8 years ago

    Justice must prevail. What comes round goes round. Read this and weep – you all know who you are.

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    Oh boy, this is gettin interesting, I bet those doods are on the loo with stomach problems right now as reality and panick strikes!

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    Lets see if the South african authorities will be successful in prosecuting the Zanu pf hardcores or it will just end up a tale story my word.

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    As long as the ANC does not, once again ignore their own Supreme Court, the villains must start to shiver. Now is the time for the report by the SA judges on the 2008 elections to be FINALLY made public.

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    munzwa 8 years ago

    And don’t forget the public can make a citizens arrest!!!!

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    Chara 8 years ago

    No trips for some to SA because if they don’t appear in court then warrants of arrest will be given.So this useless Tomana guy is lying to suggest that the ruling has no impact on Zimbabwe.

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    Even if e ruling has no “impact” as Tomana says e gud thing its now going to prove that zpf is a murderous party and history is going to record that.

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    INJAYINJA 8 years ago

    They will simply be told, “we are a Sovereign state- South African or any other foreign courts have no right to say anything about the way we govern our people or what desciplinary measures we take to stay sovereign.”

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    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    This is indeed Gukurawundi revisited.

    Those who have always claimed Gukurawundi is an exaggeration should now see what ZANU PF is capable of. In fact Gukurawundi was worse.

    ZANU PF is a party of thugs; we will not rest until the perpetrators of all these henious crimes are brought to book – even if it takes 30 years.

    They should all pray they die before then!!

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    I believe this is better investigated now while perpetrators are still alife , it will give them a chance to appologise or repent because God’s camcoder has recorded everything they have done, woe to them who do not want to apologise, woe to the stif necked, worse judgement is waiting for them, they will wish they never existed, l pit them the torture they did will look very insignificant compared to the comming retribution

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    Bazur Wa kuMuzi 8 years ago

    In a court of law how will one who was not directly involved in committing the actual crime be prosecuted? Did the so called senator actually torture the complainants? And the commanders did they directly torture? And what evidence will be there to show that the perpetrators actually acted on instructions from their commanders? Do not forget that the South African law has its loopholes too. How will they get the evidence to say as a minister you committed this and that when you assaulted so and so.
    I am also worried that this is now going to the land dispute mostly. It will be dismissed as part of the chaos of the time while Zanupf will claim that South African courts are now being used by whites who lost their land. Someone will listen as they are now listening to this Zanupf story.
    The excitement may become total sorrow or frustration if everyone tries to take advantage and bring in their issues. Denying ctizens their political rights is globally unaceptable but violence or injustices related to the land question though unacceptable, they are debatable as many black Zimbabweans are benefiting from it.