Sunday, December 01, 2013

(HERALD ZW) Zim-EU case now on court roll
October 22, 2013
Hebert Zharare Political Editor

THE case in which Zimbabwe is taking the European Union to court for imposing illegal sanctions has been placed on court roll and is likely to be heard soon in Brussels, Belgium, Attorney-General Mr Johannes Tomana has said.It will be heard before the General Court of the European Court of Justice.

“The case is now before the Eighth Chamber (of the General Court of European Court of Justice). The case has been allocated court and what is left is for us to be told of the set down date. That court will advise us of the date,” said Mr Tomana.

Sanctions, which were imposed on Zimbabwe at the behest of MDC formations 13 years ago, are estimated to have cost the country over US$42 billion in potential revenue.

The country continues to suffer from sanctions with reports saying some of the 15 Industrial Development Corporation subsidiaries, among them Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company and Chemplex Corporation, had US$20 million intercepted by the US Treasury Department’s Office for Foreign Assets Control.

“We are saying we will be advised of the dates soon and that can be anytime from now,” Mr Tomana said.
Zimbabwe has been reeling from the effects of illegal economic sanctions imposed by the United States, the EU and their allies after Britain internationalised its bilateral dispute with Zimbabwe.

This prompted Zimbabwe to institute legal proceedings against the EU for violating its own laws by imposing illegal sanctions on the country.

The court challenge is being led by a team of lawyers comprising Mr David Vaughan, Mr Maya Lester Robin Loof and Zimbabwean lawyers Mr Farai Mutamangira and Mr Gerald Mlotshwa.

The EU’s illegal sanctions regime was imposed in violation of the Cotonou Agreement which governs relations between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

Besides disregarding its own regulations, the bloc also contravened international law when it imposed the illegal sanctions in 2002 and continued to extend them outside UN statutes.

Although the EU recently resolved to remove the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation from sanctions after facing pressure from Belgium whose diamond industry was feeling the effects of Marange diamonds that were finding their way to India and China, Zimbabwe wants the sanctions lifted in toto.

Zimbabweans are tired of the sanctions and over two million people signed the National Anti-Sanctions Petition which was launched by President Mugabe in April 2011 and Government used the petition in regional and international forums to lobby for the lifting of the decade-old Western embargo.

The inclusive Government was a major setback as it declined to fund the election petition lobby internationally, but with a Zanu-PF Government in office, that problem should be overcome.

Mr Tomana would not disclose funding mechanisms of the lawsuit, with previous reports indicating that US$5 million was needed for the case.

“What I have given in the meantime I think is enough,” said Mr Tomana.

Trinity Engineering founder and CEO Cde Aguy Georgias, was the first to challenge the EU sanctions in court and his case is still pending at the bloc’s General Court where he seeks damages against the European Commission and the Council of the European Union.
Cde Georgias, who is represented by United Kingdom lawyers, said he would give details of the case today.

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