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Our relations with Zim cannot stand in the way of the law

Our relations with Zim cannot stand in the way of the law

The Times Editorial | 11 May, 2012 00:58

The Times Editorial: Even though President Jacob Zuma has adopted a far 
tougher approach to the recalcitrant Robert Mugabe than Thabo Mbeki ever 
did, our police service has had no qualms in cosying up to their Zimbabwean 

So much so that members of the SA Police Service’s elite Hawks unit stand 
accused of being involved in the illegal, CIA-style rendition of several 
Zimbabwean suspects who were taken over the border and murdered or tortured 
by Zimbabwean authorities.

Among the victims was former Movement for Democratic Change organiser Gift 
Nhadzi, who was allegedly tortured, along with his wife, after he was 
spirited over the border.

When the Sunday Times lifted a lid off this shameful state of affairs in 
October last year, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa initially denied the 
allegations. But an investigation was launched and Mthethwa told parliament 
on Wednesday that the probe was nearing completion.

Yesterday, activists from the Zimbabwean Exiles Forum threatened to take 
several members of the Hawks to The Hague over crimes against humanity if 
they are not brought to justice in South Africa.

The exiles forum was also one of the applicants in a landmark case in the 
Pretoria High Court, which ruled that police and the National Prosecuting 
Authority were obliged – under the Rome statute of the International 
Criminal Court Act – to investigate and charge senior Zimbabwe officials 
suspected of crimes against humanity should they enter South Africa.

Judge Hans Fabricius was not persuaded by the NPA’s argument than such an 
undertaking could hamper cooperation with the Zimbabwean police in criminal 
investigations or undermine relations with Zimbabwe, saying “political 
considerations or diplomatic initiatives are not relevant . having regard to 
the purpose of the ICC Act”.

They might not want to upset the powers-that-be in Zimbabwe but our police 
and prosecuting authority will have to obey the law.


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