Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

African Commission to tackle suspension of SADC human rights court

African Commission to tackle suspension of SADC human rights court

By Alex Bell
21 November 2012

The suspension of the Southern African region’s human rights court is now 
set to be tackled at one of the highest levels in Africa, after the African 
Commission on Human and People’s rights agreed to hear a formal complaint 
about the matter.

The African Commission ruled on Tuesday that the complaint lodged with it on 
behalf of Zimbabwean farmers Luke Tembani and Ben Freeth, against SADC 
leaders for suspending the regional human rights Tribunal, was ‘admissible’. 
The ruling was made at the 52nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission 
on Human and People’s Rights held in Cote d’Ivoire.

The complaint by Tembani and Freeth was filed as part of the ongoing battle 
for the future of the Tribunal, which was suspended by SADC leaders over its 
rulings against the Zimbabwe government. The court had ruled that the land 
grab was unlawful, and then held Zimbabwe in contempt of court for refusing 
to honour its original ruling.

The court also held the Government of Zimbabwe in breach of the SADC Treaty 
and other international legal obligations. But instead of taking action 
against Zimbabwe, SADC leaders suspended the court in 2010 for a review of 
its mandate. Two years later the court remains inactive. Regional justice 
ministers have proposed that the court only be reinstated with a very 
limited human rights mandate, which blocks individual access to the court.

All 15 SADC leaders have been cited as respondents in the landmark case 
launched by Tembani and Freeth, which was originally made to the SADC 
Tribunal last year but will now be heard by the African Commission. It is 
the first time in legal history that a group of heads of state is being 
cited by an individual as the respondent in an application to an 
international body.

Freeth told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that the Commission’s “courageous” 
decision is a “breakthrough.”

“Never before have 15 governments been brought before a Commission of this 
nature and held accountable. The Commission agreed to hear our case on the 
basis that it (the Tribunal suspension) goes against the African Charter and 
against what Africa believes in terms of the rule of law. So we are very 
excited,” Freeth said.

Freeth and Tembani’s legal team now have 60 days to compile their arguments 
and make further submissions to the Commission. SADC will also be given a 
chance to respond, before a hearing expected sometime next year.

“The rule of law is so linked to development and the wellbeing of people. So 
what is happening in Southern Africa is severely retrogressive for the rule 
of law and human rights,” Freeth said.

He added: “They (the Commission) have realised that what has happened is 
very serious not only for Southern Africa, but the whole of Africa. The 
credibility of African justice is in the reckoning.”


Killer poacher jailed 18 years

Killer poacher jailed 18 years   3/7/2019 The Chronicle Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter A POACHER who ganged up with a colleague and fatally attacked a

Read More »

New Posts: