South Africa Court Orders Probe into Torture of Zimbabweans

via South Africa Court Orders Probe into Torture of Zimbabweans by Blessing  Zulu 27.11.2013 VOA Zimbabwe

In a landmark ruling Wednesday the South African Court of Appeal has ordered the South African Police Services to investigate crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe.

The Southern African Human Rights Litigation Centre and the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum brought the case after providing South African prosecutors with evidence that Zimbabwean officials were involved in torturing opposition members in 2007.

During its ruling Wednesday, the Supreme Court outlined the evidence in the dossier noting that it included evidence of severe physical assaults, including the use of baseball bats, water-boarding and electrical shocks being applied to genitalia by Zimbabwean officials.

Zimbabwe authorities have in the past failed to investigate the allegations.

The Bloemfontein-based court ruled that alleged charges of “systematic torture” are serious enough for Pretoria to pursue their perpetrators even if it means exercising extraterritorial jurisdiction.

The court ruled that under international law, South Africa has a duty to investigate crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe once the perpetrators set foot in South Africa.

In June last year, President Robert Mugabe, speaking at a convention of southern African liberation movements urged the ruling African National Congress government to snub an earlier ruling on torture calling the probe ordered by the South African High Court “racist”.

Mr. Mugabe urged the ANC to “apply every means at their disposal” to prevent the souring of relations between Harare and Pretoria.

But ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the ANC as a party respected the rule of law.

Zimbabwe Exiles Forum executive director Gabriel Shumba said the ruling is significant.

“Zimbabweans can be proud today knowing that South Africa will not shirk from its responsibility to ensure justice for victims of crimes against humanity. “This judgment is a critical step in the international fight against impunity.”

In a statement, the Southern African Litigation Center director Priti Patel said, “The Court’s decision makes it clear that South Africa has a legal obligation to investigate the perpetrators of international crimes wherever those crimes were committed.”

“The Supreme Court ruling confirms that the dispensing of international justice is not restricted to international forums, and commits the South African authorities to play their part in ensuring that torturers and other international criminals are held accountable for their actions.”

But Zimbabwe’s Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana said the ruling is a non-event.



  • comment-avatar
    ZimJim 8 years ago

    Well done SA! Better late than never.
    “Zimbabwe’s Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana said the ruling is a non-event.”
    I hope you make Tomana eat his words!

  • comment-avatar
    Doris 8 years ago

    Let us just hope and pray that these evil beings will at be made to face up to their actions. Let us take it the whole way and get these murdering thugs to the I.C.C. The dossiers on each and every one of them are piled up on the desks of the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Justice will prevail.

  • comment-avatar

    So goes Tomana a so called lawyer. Its a no event if it goes against him. There are’nt many who will agree with him except of course the likes of Mbeki and Nkosazana Zuma who have other reasons for their relationship with Zanupf. The people referred to are Zimbabweans and not South Africans. Some of them fought along side both Zanu against Ian Smith and others fought along side the ANC Mkhonto WeSizwe and the South African masses against apartheid. Their crime is that they just do not agree with Mugabe politically and Tomana denied these Zimbabweans justice. This is why there is this case. Its a non event. Yes even the death of over 20000 Zapu supporters was a non event. Beating up Tswangirai at a police station was a non event. Beating Chamisa and leaving him for dead on his way to an International Parliamentary Meeting was yet one of those non events. We are not talking of burnt down homes and destroyed properties of Mugabe’s political opponents. To Tomana as long as these were done to and on people who are politically opposed to Mugabe they are non events.

  • comment-avatar

    I would suppose their jsfuitication is that the Rugby World Cup and America’s Cup provide economic advantage to New Zealand. But that is such a right-wing perspective to take. There is more to this world than money, and it just wonders me when this government will wake up to that.