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South African Court Orders Investigation of Crimes against Humanity in Zimbabwe
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.”
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.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.