EU responds to Tomana threats

The European Union has officially responded to Zimbabwe’s two-week ultimatum demanding its justification of continuing targeted measures the western bloc imposed on some senior Zanu (PF) officials and companies a decade ago.

Johannes Tomana
Johannes Tomana

In an interview Thursday, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell' Ariccia said his organisation had responded to a letter from Attorney General Johannes Tomana asking the EU to justify its refusal to lift sanctions and threatened legal action.

“Unfortunately the response is still confidential at this stage…. If Mr Tomana wishes to divulge the contents he can do so, but I cannot communicate the contents of the letter. The only thing I can tell you is that in general terms the EU gives supreme importance to respect of the rule of law. There are legal mechanisms in the EU that permit to act on situations where people consider that their rights are violated.

This is done in the full respect of the law and bearing in mind that the ultimate interest is to protect the rights of all citizens within and outside Europe,” said the Ambassador "adequate mechanisms are in place, which permit to challenge decisions and/or actions by any Government in front of an impartial judicial system".

He added that, even in the case of the targeted EU measures "a notice was published in the Official Journal (OJ) of the EU, drawing the attention of those concerned to the possibility of submitting a request that the listing decision should be reconsidered in accordance with relevant provisions laid down in the EU Decision (Decision 2011/101/CFSP, published in the OJ of the EU)"

Tomana said if the EU failed to give a satisfactory answer within two weeks he was going to lodge a lawsuit at the General Court of European Court of Justice.

“Unless I hear from you in the next 14 days, I shall be taking steps as may be necessary and appropriate to protect the rights and interest of the government of Zimbabwe and all the natural and legal persons and entities, subjects to the restrictive measures in terms of your aforesaid decisions,” Tomana threatened in his letter.

The EU imposed targeted sanctions on a list of some 200 Zanu (PF) officials and associated companies in 2002, following alleged human rights abuses and a flawed electoral process by President Robert Mugabe and his then ruling Zanu (PF) party.

The Zimbabwean on Sunday failed to get a comment from Attorney General Johannes Tomana as his mobile phone was not reachable.

Responding to the threats by Tomana recently, EU Managing Director for Africa, Nicholas Westcott told journalists in Zimbabwe that western bloc was ready for the legal battle with Harare.

“If anybody disagrees with that there is a due legal process which is open to anyone. If the government of Zimbabwe wishes to avail itself to that, that is fine. We are governed by the law rule of law. It is a process I recommend to all countries to insure that there is an impartial judicial system which will enable anyone to challenge decisions or actions by a government or in our case an international organisation and allow a free judiciary to make its decision”, he said.

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