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Freedom House applauds the South African Supreme Court of Appeal’s order that South African authorities investigate high level Zimbabwean officials accused of crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe. The court said such crimes strike “at the whole of humankind and impinge on the international conscience.” Freedom House calls on authorities to bring alleged perpetrators of international crimes to justice.

The acquittal of human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa is a positive step for the rule of law in Zimbabwe and sets an important precedent for judicial independence in the country. Freedom House applauds the verdict and encourages the Zimbabwean government to end the legal harassment of civil society organizations and human rights defenders.

It has been less than four months since heavily manipulated elections gave Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party complete control over the executive and a supermajority in Parliament, and already the international community is signaling that it is ready to move on. Admittedly, other countries in Africa pose more urgent threats in terms of war, terrorism, and mass atrocities, but Mugabe’s return to unfettered power in Zimbabwe could erase the democratic and economic gains the country has achieved over the past five years.



Senior Director for Program Strategy, Development and Learning and Director for Central, East and West Africa Programs

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