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ZANU PF left ‘jittery’ by landmark SA court ruling

ZANU PF left ‘jittery’ by landmark SA court ruling

By Alex Bell
10 May 2012

A leading Zimbabwean pro-democracy activist has said that ZANU PF’s reaction 
to a landmark South African court ruling this week shows the party has been 
left shaken by the order, which calls for the authorities there to probe 
crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe.

The North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday ruled that South Africa must 
investigate state-sanctioned torture and other crimes against humanity at 
the hands of Zimbabwean officials in 2007. The ruling is being described as 
‘landmark’ for local and international justice, because it means accused 
ZANU PF officials can be arrested and tried in South Africa for crimes they 
committed in Zimbabwe.

But ZANU PF has dismissed the ruling as ‘irrelevant’ with the party’s 
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa saying it was a general judgement without 

“The ruling brings the South African justice system into disrepute,” 
Chinamasa said, adding: “it is a sad moment for the justice system in South 

The ruling Tuesday is the result of a case launched in March by the Southern 
Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum. The two 
groups had asked the High Court to review and set aside a decision made by 
South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the police not to 
investigate Zimbabwean officials linked to acts of state-sanctioned torture.

Their case was based on a dossier detailing the attack on MDC members in 
2007, which was handed to the NPA in 2008. But a formal investigation was 
never launched.

Dewa Mavhinga from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition welcomed Tuesday’s 
ruling as a victory, not only for Zimbabwean torture victims, but for 
justice in general.

“The judgment comes at a critical time when Zimbabwe is preparing for 
elections and we expect that it will be a deterrent to overzealous party 
supporters who may wish to commit political violence,” Mavhinga told SW 
Radio Africa.

Mavhinga said that ZANU PF’s dismissal of the ruling was a sign of their 
anger, saying: “They are jittery about what this means for their future.”

“This is an angry and jittery response because all those implicated in 
political violence and other serious human rights abuses will have to think 
twice before setting foot in South Africa. It is now clear that authorities 
in South Africa have clear obligations to investigate and prosecute 
individuals for crimes against humanity committed in Zimbabwe.”


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