THE United Nations has asked the government to investigate a senior member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police who was serving in Kosovo for his alleged involvement in torture,
the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
Henry Dowa, a chief inspector in the Criminal Investigation Department (Law and Order Section) at the ZRP Harare Central Police station, is reported to be back in Zimbabwe.
In a press statement, Redress, a group which helps to seek justice for torture victims, said it had put pressure on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to act on Dowa. Dowa was seconded to Kosovo as part of the Zimbabwe contingent to UNMIK to help train the local police force.
“It is alleged that in 2001 and 2002 he was directly involved in serious acts of torture, including the use of electric shocks and beatings on the bare soles of the feet,” Redress said in a statement.
Redress has expressed concern that the Zimbabwe government would not take appropriate action against Dowa.
“Redress submitted that if Dowa was allowed to return to Zimbabwe, he would not be held accountable for alleged crimes as torture is endemic and is part of the Zanu PF government’s strategy to stay in power,” the statement says.
Redress said after it had complained to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan it received a letter from the Department of Peace-Keeping Operations at the UN in New York acknowledging that it had taken note of the allegations against Dowa.
The letter confirmed that the UN Convention against torture was part of the applicable law in Kosovo. An internal inquiry was launched in Kosovo, which included an interview with Dowa, and it was forwarded to the Kosovo Department of Justice as the competent authority in Kosovo to investigate and possibly prosecute him.
The UN Department of Justice said it “lacked the necessary human and financial resources to conduct a satisfactory investigation”. It also noted that though Redress had asked for a third country to extradite Dowa, no request for this had been received and it said only Zimbabwe could do this.
The UN formally requested the government of Zimbabwe to withdraw Dowa from service in Kosovo.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said it was difficult for him to comment on the matter.
“If the UN has written to the government it would be improper for me to comment on the matter,” Bvudzijena said.