SA police fight order to probe crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe

via SA police fight order to probe crimes against humanity in Zim | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Monday, May 19, 2014

South Africa’s police service on Monday resumed its fight against court orders to probe crimes against humanity, committed in Zimbabwe.

Two previous South African courts have ruled that the country’s prosecuting authority and the police have a duty to investigate such crimes, because South Africa is a signatory to the international Rome Statute. The Statute is the foundation for the International Criminal Court and as a signatory, South Africa is committed to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of serious international crimes.

The original order was handed down by the North Gauteng High Court in 2012, after it was approached by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF). The two groups had in 2008 handed the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) a dossier detailing a politically motivated attack on MDC members in Zimbabwe the year before.

This dossier implicates 18 high level ZANU PF members in incidents of torture and assault, and the ZEF and SALC argued that South Africa was duty bound to investigate the individuals implicated, particularly those who travel to South Africa frequently. But the NPA and police decided not to implement an investigation.

Last year the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the original North Gauteng order after the authorities appealed. The police in January this year then filed another appeal, this time at the country’s Constitutional Court. In its application the police state there “is at least a reasonable prospect” that the Constitutional Court could overturn the Supreme Court ruling, arguing that among other issues, an investigation would infringe on the sovereignty of Zimbabwe and damage diplomatic relations.

Lawyers for the police on Monday also argued that according to South Africa’s laws, the police are only committed to acting against international crimes when there is a link to South Africa.

ZEF Director Gabriel Shumba said the police’s appeal “lacks merit.”

“The arguments were exhausted in the lower courts and dismissed with the contempt they deserve. We are not talking about sovereignty, we are talking about international crimes, where individuals who commit these crimes can be held to account in another country,” Shumba said.

He added: “We feel dismay and frustration in this case because arguments used two years back are being regurgitated and they are political arguments, which say that the investigation would jeopardise relations with Zimbabwe.”

Judgement in the matter has been reserved.



  • comment-avatar
    Tiger Shona 8 years ago

    It is common knowledge that ANC is silently protecting Zanu PF.
    The claim that is because of the liberation struggle.

    So what about the Zimbabwe population?

  • comment-avatar

    As long as there keep hiding, the more people want to know about it. ANC is also a terrorist organisation bent on covering up human rights abuses by fellow so called liberation movements. Its easier to let the cat out of the bag than to put in. All these dictator failed to learn something, at least one from the great Mandela?

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    The SA government has resisted release of the SA judges report on the 2002 Zimbabwe elections. The SA government is now resisting the court order to act on ‘criminals against humanity’. In both these action, the SA state has resisted court orders from their highest judicial authorities. There is no honor in their actions. These are the acts of men with feet of clay. They cannot be called liberators.
    A salute to the brave Gabriel Shumba.

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    MikeH 8 years ago

    Surely no one seriously expects zuma&co to act against mugabe&co.

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    Brian 8 years ago

    Zim = corruption. SA = corruption. Checkmate. TIA. And now the tyrants of Africa are about to vote to allow themselves off the hook when they commit criminal acts in their own countries! What fresh African hell is this? Is there not one African leader to display a shred of morality?

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    DubboZimbo 8 years ago

    The SAP can not investigate crimes in SA satisfactorily how could they investigate a crime in Zim, be serious. They are as useless and as corrupt as the ZRP.

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    It is inappropriate for SA government to meddle in another sovereign state. This may severe relations of two neighbors as well as compromising diplomatic relations. It is the duty of International community through Interpol, to investigate the matter.