In a landmark judgment of the North Gauteng High Court this morning, the South African Government has been asked to review its decision not to prosecute crimes against humanity committed in Zimbabwe. The landmark judgment made by Judge Hans Fabricius this morning follows an application that was made by the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) and the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) to force South African authorities to take action against perpetrators who commit abuses in Zimbabwe, and are regularly come to South Africa either on business, or to do their shopping.
In welcoming the judgment of the Court, ZEF Chairperson and human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba said:
“We are ecstatic about this decision, which shrinks further the borders of impunity for crimes against humanity not only in Zimbabwe, but on the continent. This judgment is propitious in that it comes before yet another round of elections in Zimbabwe, and will go a long way in sounding the warning salvo to those who have previously and presently committed crimes against humanity under the guise of campaigning for especially ZANU (PF)”.
Mr Shumba went on to say that “At present, it is not clear whether the National Prosecuting Authority and the South African Police Service (who are the respondents in this case) will appeal the decision, but if they do, they will only be setting even more authoritative legal precedent as we are confident that the reasoning behind this decision is so sound that it will be very difficult to overturn.
From our side, we will now study the decision in full, and see what steps are necessary to enforce compliance in the event that the rule of law is again sacrificed for political expedience”. Mr Shumba, is a torture victim himself, and fled to South Africa when his life was threatened by state security agents in Zimbabwe.
A report released recently in the national media in South Africa indicates that some Zimbabweans who have sought refuge in South Africa have been abducted and tortured in SA. Citing these reports, Mr Shumba said that those who suspect individuals to have been involved in crimes against humanity such as torture should either report them to SALC and ZEF or to the authorities so that attempts may be made to bring them to account.Post published in: Politics