Thursday, May 10, 2012

(NEWZIMBABWE) Zanu-PF dismisses SA court ruling

Zanu-PF dismisses SA court ruling
This article was written by Our reporter
on 10 May, at 03 : 11 AM

PRESIDENT Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has dismissed the ruling by a South African court that authorities in that country can probe and prosecute ‘crimes against humanity’ committed in Zimbabwe, or anywhere in the world.

South Africa was obliged to investigate and prosecute international crimes under the Rome Statute and under its own international criminal laws, said North Gauteng Judge Hans Fabricius.

“I hereby hand down a mandatory order, with costs, which obliges the respondents [National Directorate of Public Prosecutions and South African Police Service] to investigate the docket before them.”

The court action was brought by the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) and the Zimbabwean Exiles Forum (ZEF).

Zimbabwe’s Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa denounced the court ruling saying it puts the justice system in South Africa into disrepute.

“The ruling brings the South African justice system into disrepute. No specifics have been identified, because they should have laid a blow by blow account of what crime has been committed,” Patrick Chinamasa told state media on Wednesday.

The Tuesday ruling could affect Zimbabwean refugees, many of whom have fled to neighbouring South Africa, and government officials, who also sometimes come on business or personal trips.

South African high court judge Hans Fabricius made the ruling last week.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said prosecutors will study the ruling and decide what legal steps to take.

Tsvangirai’s party pleased

The case centres on violence that occurred during the aftermath of the 2008 elections.

Zanu-PF and MDC-T admitted joint culpability of that violence in a Memorandum of Understanding signed at the time, forming the basis of the current inclusive Government (see picture above).

The leaders of the three main parties in Zimbabwe agreed to work together to end violence, which they said had been perpetrated by both on the opposition MDC-T party and the then ruling Zanu-PF party.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who is now the prime minister in the inclusive Government with President Mugabe, and his party hailed the decision, despite admitting in 2008 that their party was also involved in the violence.

“Torture is a barbaric instrument of dealing with issues of politics,” spokesman Nelson Chamisa told the AFP news agency.

“For that reason it remains our wish that all people of Zimbabwe with injured hearts and troubled minds are brought to restorative and rehabilitative, as opposed to retributive, justice.”

South African police and prosecutors refused to investigate in 2008, citing the difficulty and possible political repercussions and saying the law was unclear. In his ruling Tuesday, Fabricius said that refusal was “unlawful,inconsistent with the constitution, and therefore invalid.”

Fabricius’s ruling was the first under 2002 statues spelling out South Africa’s international obligations and risks complicating the country’s role as the main mediator in Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

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