Tuesday, June 17, 2014

(STICKY) (HERALD ZW) EU sanctions suit: Britain in no show
June 17, 2014
Takunda Maodza and Fidelis Munyoro—

COMMENT - Upon close examination, the economic (in this case the EU's) sanctions fall apart. It was the British government under Tony Blair and Claire Short, which reneged on it's obligation to fund the Willing Buyer, Willing Seller land reform program (See the link to Swan's article, "The Spark", from November 1997, years before the Fast Track land reform program.

" I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers. "


" Again, I am told there were discussions in 1989 and 1996 to explore the possibility of further assistance. However that is all in the past. "

- MrK

BRITAIN failed to make its representation in the hearing of a case in which Zimbabwe is suing the European Union for the imposition of illegal economic sanctions when the matter opened in the General Court of the European Union last Tuesday in Luxembourg.

The case, which was not against Britain but the EU, was heard by three judges from Sweden, Bulgaria and Greece in an open court last week and it lasted the entire day.

Zimbabwe did not cite Britain in the lawsuit but the United Kingdom begged the court to be included when it successfully applied for an intervener in 2012 claiming it had a personal interest in the case.

Zimbabwe’s legal team led by David Vaughan and Maya Lester of Brick Court Chambers in London argued that, “it is only the Security Council of the United Nations that have the lawful power to impose sanctions on a member country while the rest of the member countries’ obligation was supportive only.”

The lawyers said since independence, Zimbabwe has never been the subject of any such sanctions.

“In fact there were attempts by the United Kingdom to present a draft resolution to the Security Council in 2008 “targeting” 14 persons in the Government of Zimbabwe. The resolution was not passed because the test was not satisfied, that is Zimbabwe’s conduct needed to amount to a threat to international peace and security to attract UN sanctions,” the lawyers said.

The UN Security Council refused to impose sanctions or even condemn the Government of Zimbabwe.

“There is, therefore, no legal basis upon which the EU can continue to target persons and entities associated with the Government of Zimbabwe and or Zanu-PF,” the lawyers argued.

The oral hearing remains open for a period of two weeks to allow for the filing of further documents by all parties and in the case of the United Kingdom, to allow it to make its oral submissions, if any.

A hearing would be handed down in the course of the year.
Instructing attorneys are Michael O’ Kane of Peters and Peters Solicitors from UK, Jacob Mutevedzi of Mutamangira and Associates, and Gerald Mlotshwa of Titan Law Chambers, both of Zimbabwe.

Legal experts yesterday described Britain’s no show as ample evidence that the erstwhile coloniser had no justifiable legal explanation for the ruinous embargo that has bogged down the economy costing the country over US$42billion in lost revenue since the turn of the millennium.

Britain advocated the imposition of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe after the Zanu-PF Government successfully embarked on the fast-track land reform programme in 2000 to correct historical land ownership imbalances in the wake of the British Labour government’s refusal to honour its colonial obligations.

A Zimbabwean delegation led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, comprising Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana and the Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Ray Ndhlukula, attended the hearing.

In a statement, the Zimbabwean delegation said: “The United Kingdom, which had intervened at its own initiative in the case, did not, however, attend the hearing. The reason for the United Kingdom’s absence is yet to be known.”

Zimbabwe’s lawsuit seeks to nullify the illegal sanctions imposed on 112 persons and 11 corporate entities associated with the Government and Zanu-PF.

Legal expert Mr Joseph Mandizha said the attitude of the British government in filing the intervener application, shallow and ill advised as it was, vindicates the position that Zimbabwe has always been communicating to the international community that the sanctions the sanctions were a bilateral issue.

“Harare’s position, which is on record, has always been that the real fact of the matter was that sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe were a consequence of a bilateral dispute between it and its former colonial power and that it was profoundly unfortunate that the rest of Europe was allowing wool to be pulled over its eyes by the British government through the sanctions dispute,” he said.

“It must, therefore, be very embarrassing to the EU that Britain has disingenuously conducted itself in a manner that lends credence to Zimbabwe’s position. It is incumbent upon our Government, however, not to celebrate this court victory and allow the matter to be, but rather to continue to demonstrate to the rest of Europe that it is willing and able to engage with or without the British government.”

Another lawyer Mr Terence Hussein said the failure by Britain to appear in court was a deliberate ploy to delay proceedings.

“Britain is either using delaying tactics to avoid the finalisation of the matter or they are afraid to come to court to justify their case in a court of law,” said Mr Hussein.

He said it was clear that the sanctions were unlawful and motivated by spite.

“Britain should do the honorable thing and show leadership within the EU by conceding that the sanctions had no basis and convince its allies to unconditionally drop them,” said Mr Hussein.

Advocate Fred Gijima concurred adding that the UK’s application was malicious and frivolous, and meant to frustrate the proceedings initiated by Zimbabwe.

“It clear that they are bent on maintaining the sanctions through the back door and did not want to come out on to the play ground and defend their decision in court of law,” said Adv Gijima.

“It is also clear that they have no reason at all whether, legally, socially, economically or politically to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe and encourage the EU to do likewise. They should simply do the honorable thing and concede that the sanctions be removed unconditionally.”

Constitutional lawyer, Professor Lovemore Madhuku said by failing to appear for the hearing Britain was liable to pay “wastage costs”.
Zimbabwe wants the sanctions declared illegal on the grounds that there was no proper legal basis for imposing sanctions on the individuals and companies associated with Government and Zanu-PF.

The sanctions were based on reports from faceless dubious websites and internationally discredited NGOs.

Zimbabwe also argues that in imposing the sanctions the EU failed to give adequate or sufficient reasons for targeting the said individuals and entities.

It failed to provide particulars or evidence to the affected persons and entities to allow them to comment on the case against them.

The EU infringed, without justification or proportion, the applicants’ fundamental rights including their right to protection of their property, business, reputation and private and family life.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

(STICKY) (HERALD ZW) President calls for new world order
June 14, 2014
Mabasa Sasa in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

President Mugabe has called for the Group of 77+China to be at the forefront of creating a global order that represents the interests and aspirations of downtrodden people and oppose domination by Western powers. The President said this soon after landing in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, yesterday where he will attend today’s 50th anniversary Commemorative Summit of the G77+China, which runs today and tomorrow.

President Mugabe is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and other senior Government officials.

On arrival, President Mugabe inspected a guard of honour and was then treated to two displays of Bolivian cultural dance and music.

Thereafter, he addressed scores of people who had gathered to welcome him to the South American country, saying Zimbabwe would join the rest of the G77+China in fighting oppression and advancing developing countries’ interests.

“We should come together economically, come together politically, come together socially to form a really, really active and operational Group of 77 that will stand firm and can be relied on to protect our interests and aspirations,” President Mugabe said.

The G77 was established in 1964 and is the largest inter-governmental organisation of developing countries operating within the United Nations system.

Founded by 77 countries, its membership has grown to 133 covering Africa, Asia and Latin America, but retains its original name and continues to pursue development of South-South co-operation and co-ordination of mutually beneficial positions at the UN.

On Wednesday, Xinhua reported the host President Evo Morales saying Bolivia could afford to host the summit because it was “financially solvent thanks to the nationalisation of the energy sector”.

Leaders and their representatives are expected to discuss issues such as unemployment, poverty, climate change and food security.

A matter most participants are looking forward to is presentation by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro of evidence of a United States-backed plot to assassinate him.

“We are going to show the evidence of assassination plots, implicating opposition leaders and US officials,” President Maduro has said.

Venezuela has experienced widespread destabilisation since the death of the iconic President Hugo Chavez last year, with opposition groups reportedly getting financial, technical and moral support from Washington to overthrow President Maduro’s government and undo pro-poor policies implemented over the past 15 years.

The choice of Bolivia to host the commemorative summit could not have been more inspired.

President Morales is Bolivia’s first democratically-elected leader from the indigenous population.

Morales’ administration has busied itself with poverty eradication, nationalisation and economic empowerment and eroding the influence of the United States and big Western corporations in the local economy and body politic.

President Morales has exacted more taxes from the hydrocarbons sector, has instituted agrarian reforms and boosted literacy.

Expectations are that he will be re-elected by a landslide in polls later this year.

Bolivia itself is named after Simón Bolívar, who died in 1830 and is considered one of the most influential politicians in Latin America’s history.

Bolívar was a soldier and politician who was instrumental in ending Spain’s colonisation of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, playing a central role in the creation of a union called Gran Colombia, which he led from 1819 to his death.

The politics and economics of self-reliance and South-South co-operation are central to the ideology of the G77+China.

At their last meeting at the UN headquarters in the United States in 2013, foreign affairs ministers of the G77+China resolved, among other things, to maintain focus on poverty eradication and food security of their peoples.

“Ministers stressed that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development . . .

“Ministers further stressed that, in order to enable governments of developing countries to effectively eradicate poverty, developing countries must ensure national ownership of their own development agenda, which entails preserving their own policy space backed by a strong political commitment to reduce poverty in line with their national priorities and circumstances.”

They also called for strengthening of the UN system and reform of multilateral lending institutions and the international financial architecture to make them more democratic, and debt restructuring.

“The ministers firmly rejected the imposition of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impact and all other forms of coercive economic measures, including unilateral sanctions against developing countries, and reiterated the urgent need to eliminate them immediately,” their declaration read.

“They emphasised that such actions not only undermine the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and international law, but also severely threaten the freedom of trade and investment.

‘‘They, therefore, called on the international community neither to recognise these measures nor apply them.”

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