Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Judgement reserved in Zim torture case

Judgement reserved in Zim torture case

By Alex Bell
29 March 2012

A South African Judge on Thursday reserved judgement in a landmark legal 
challenge based on incidences of torture in Zimbabwe.

The case, which urges South Africa to honour its international legal 
obligations and prosecute high level Zimbabwean officials, was filed at the 
Pretoria High Court by the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) and the 
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum.

The groups are trying to get the court to overturn a decision by the South 
African police and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) not to investigate 
the torture of MDC members in Zimbabwe in 2007.

A dossier of the attack at the party’s Harvest House headquarters in Harare 
was handed to the NPA’s head of the Priority Crimes Litigation Unit, Anton 
Ackermann. It contained the names of the Zimbabwean officials responsible 
for the raid and torture, as well as details of the incident.

Although the NPA reportedly did ask the police to investigate, this request 
was refused, a decision that was then supported by the National Director of 
Public Prosecutions. The matter did not resurface until earlier this year 
with SALC and the Exiles Forum announcing that it would try to have the 
decision overturned.

The case got underway at the start of this week in dramatic fashion, after 
the NPA’s Ackermann effectively ‘switched sides’ by filing an affidavit that 
implicated the NPA and the State Advocate in deliberately stopping an 

The court heard this week that the NPA and the police had failed in their 
duties under international law not to institute a probe, with the rule of 
law having failed Zimbabweans in their own country. Even the Judge in the 
case this week appeared critical of the state institutions and their 
decision, especially their argument that South Africa’s political 
obligations outweigh legal obligations.

Judgement has now been reserved with a ruling expected in the next couple of 


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