South African Court Orders Investigation of Crimes against Humanity in Zimbabwe | Freedom House

South African Court Orders Investigation of Crimes against Humanity in Zimbabwe

Washington

Following a ruling by the South Africa Constitutional Court ordering the South African Police Service to investigate crimes against humanity committed in Zimbabwe before the 2008 elections, Freedom House released the following statement:

"The ruling by the Constitutional Court compels South Africa to abide by its domestic and international legal obligations to investigate crimes against humanity and state-sanctioned torture allegedly committed in Zimbabwe,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs. “The judgment creates an important precedent for victims of torture and other international crimes in Zimbabwe and other countries in the region, who might now approach the South African authorities for assistance. Freedom House congratulates the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), who were represented by Lawyers for Human Rights, for their success in this groundbreaking litigation and for their continued defense and promotion of human rights and rule of law in Southern Africa.”

Background

The Constitutional Court found there was no evidence that Zimbabwean authorities were "willing or able to pursue an investigation.” Noting South Africa bordered Zimbabwe, the court found it "reasonable and practicable" for South African authorities to investigate allegations reported to them.

South Africa is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2014  and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2014.

 

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