Zimbabwe Torture Case Reaches South Africa’s Constitutional Court

via Zimbabwe Torture Case Reaches South Africa’s Constitutional Court | The Zimbabwean 15.05.14 

On Monday 19 May, the South African Constitutional Court will hear arguments in the ground-breaking Zimbabwe torture case, which was brought by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and the Zimbabwean Exiles Forum (ZEF) to compel South Africa to abide by its domestic and international legal obligations to investigate and prosecute high level Zimbabwean officials accused of crimes against humanity.

“South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal and High Court previous rulings in this case were very clear – the South African authorities have a legal duty to investigate allegations of torture against senior Zimbabwean officials,” said Nicole Fritz, SALC’s Executive Director. “The Constitutional Court now has the opportunity to weigh in and set a historic precedent that will help to end impunity for crimes against humanity wherever they are committed.”

This is the final stage of the landmark case that began in 2008, when ZEF and SALC handed over a dossier of evidence to the South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Services (SAPS), which pointed to state-sanctioned torture in Zimbabwe, following a police raid on the headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change in 2007.

“The South African authorities have spent the past six years using every possible tactic to avoid doing their job – to use the evidence we gave them to investigate and prosecute Zimbabweans suspected of crimes against humanity,” said Gabriel Shumba, ZEF Chairperson. “The Constitutional Court is being asked to make them comply with their international legal obligations – and in the process set an important precedent for the way courts around the world interpret these commitments.”

What: Constitutional Court to hear arguments in Zimbabwe torture case

Where: Constitutional Court, Johannesburg

When: Monday 19 May at 10:00 am

In May 2012, the North Gauteng High Court set aside the decision of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) not to initiate an investigation into state-sanctioned torture in Zimbabwe, following a police raid on the headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change in 2007. The High Court held that the

South African authorities had not acted in accordance with their obligations under the domestic legislation and ruled that the decision had been taken unlawfully and unconstitutionally.

The matter was taken on appeal by the authorities and in November 2013 the Supreme Court of Appeal also held that SAPS, in particular, are empowered and required to investigate the crimes against humanity detailed in the dossier. SAPS alone appealed the judgment, taking this matter to the Constitutional Court.

Issued by: The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC)

For more information and interviews contact:

Nicole Fritz, Executive Director SALC

Office + 27 11 587 5068; Cell + 27 82 600 1082; NicoleF@salc.org.za

Angela Mudukuti, SALC International Criminal Justice Project Lawyer:

Office + 27 11 587 5065; Cell +27 76 762 3869; AngelaM@salc.org.za

Gabriel Shumba, ZEF Chairperson: Cell +27 72 639 3795

For live updates from the court:@Follow_SALC



  • comment-avatar

    Congratulations to these tireless workers for justice. We salute SALC and ZEF and their brave workers. Torture is a crime against humanity and its use is utterly debasing and depraved.

  • comment-avatar
    john m klotz 9 years ago

    This case and the international legal mandate which brings it TO COURT provide a perfect context for us all to REVISIT *LONG WALK TO FREEDOM/MANDELA AUTOBIOGRAPHY* (published by Little, Brown and Company in 1994 & 1995 with a new edition in 2013 with a forward by former U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton)

  • comment-avatar
    Kevin Watson 9 years ago

    My only hope is that the Court hands down a punitive costs order against the respondents in their personal capacities.

  • comment-avatar
    Blessings 9 years ago

    My first question is was this case ever heard in a Zimbabwean court. Zimbabwe has a constitutional court as well and the resources to investigate such issues why should SA be forced to waste its resources about Zimbabwe while Zim can do it. This is capable of causing diplomatic tensions between Zim and SA.I believe Zim courts are impartial just like any other courts as witnessed by the acquittal of Roy Bennet, though himself had no faith in the Justice system of Zim accusing it of being biased to Zanu Pf

    • comment-avatar
      Where have you been? 9 years ago

      Blessing, I think you have been living on Mars. The rule of law has not existed in Zimbabwe for more then 10 years. People have been murdered and tortured by the police in this country. These are the very people who are supposed to protect us. Justice has been brutally subverted in Zimbabwe. She fled with the millions who now reside outside this country.