Zim torture victims to challenge court appeal

ZIMBABWEAN Exiles Forum (Zef) chairperson Gabriel Shumba has said his association will challenge the appeal by the South African Police Service (Saps) at the Constitutional Court to set aside an appeal order seeking to compel Saps to investigate alleged crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe.

Staff Writer

Saps this week successfully appealed to the Supreme Court seeking to set aside a ruling that it should investigate and prosecute allegations of torture against senior Zanu PF and Zimbabwean government officials once they set foot in South Africa.
Shumba told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that his organisation would oppose the Saps application.

“Zef and its partners will certainly oppose the appeal. It is important to note that two courts have already agreed with our interpretation of the legal position, and the attendant obligations of the various departments to make impunity for international crimes a thing of the past,” Shumba said.

“We remain hopeful that the highest court in the land will agree with our position as the appellants have in my opinion of their arguments largely relied on political expediency rather than confronting the legal imperatives of making sure that those who commit crimes against humanity find no sanctuary in any jurisdiction. Justice and the rule of law should prevail in this case where justice delayed is justice denied.”

The case dates back to 2008 when the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (Salc) and Zef sent a docket to the priority crimes litigation unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) documenting acts of torture allegedly committed after a raid by Zimbabwean police on MDC-T headquarters at Harvest House in Harare.

The centre and the forum wanted South African authorities to arrest Zimbabwean officials identified in the docket but the NPA and the police refused, saying it was impossible or impractical to investigate crimes committed in Zimbabwe.

However, in its application for leave to appeal last month, the police said the statute did not create universal jurisdiction and was not binding to International Criminal Court (ICC) non-member states such as Zimbabwe.

Last year the court of appeal upheld an earlier High Court ruling that South Africa, as a signatory to the Rome Statute of the ICC, had a duty to investigate the allegations.


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