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U.S. concerns regarding the rule of law in Zimbabwe
September 28, 2011
The United States
Government takes note of recent judicial verdicts and sentences
holding accountable the perpetrators of political
violence in 2008 and 2009. The U.S. commends the police officers,
prosecutors, judges, and magistrates who serve their country through
diligent investigations and due process to ensure the integrity
of the rule of law in such cases.
At the same
time, the United States is concerned by other recent cases that
suggest excesses and a continued partisan bias on the part of law
enforcement officers and prosecutors in the conduct of their duties.
- The U.S.
is alarmed by the September 23 death of Tsorosai Kusena and the
beating of three other individuals allegedly at the hands of police
officers at a police
base in Marange after having been taken from their village
by private guards from a local diamond concession.
- The unrestrained
show of violence and extortion along political lines around Harare
by the ZANU-PF-allied Chipangano gang fosters an unacceptable
environment of fear
and intimidation that will only perpetuate violence and undermine
the peace and stability which the police are sworn to protect.
- The U.S.
is concerned about persistent reports of harassment, targeting,
and heavy handed tactics used by police officers in arresting
civil society activists - most recently leaders from Women
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) on September 22 and MDC leaders and
supporters as they conduct civil demonstrations or peaceful political
- The reported
occupation of city council or privately owned properties in Harare
and Bulawayo, and of foreign owned companies in Masvingo, by youths
acting in the name of ZANU-PF fundamentally undermine constitutionally-assured
property rights, investor confidence, and Zimbabwe's economic
- The routine
invocation of Section 121 of the Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act to hold politically-oriented and
civil society detainees despite judicial rulings granting them
bail nullifies judicial checks on the excesses of the executive
and suggest a strong partisan bias from the Attorney General's
If left unchallenged,
actions such as these lend credence to public perceptions of ZANU-PF
as a party committed to violence and intimidation unconstrained
by the laws of the land. They further paint the police force and
prosecutors as serving the interests of that party, rather than
the Zimbabwean people or the state.
The United States
calls on the ZANU-PF leadership to insist that party members and
supporters abide strictly by the laws of the country and to hold
accountable those members who violate President Mugabe's directive
against violence. We further call on the Government of Zimbabwe
- particularly the Zimbabwe Republic Police, state prosecutors,
and judicial officers- to investigate scrupulously and accord expeditious
due process in these and all cases of alleged abuse or violations
of the rule of law.
As the Government
of Zimbabwe is scheduled to appear before the Human Rights Council's
Universal Period Review from October 13-14, we ask that it honor
the pledge made in its submission, namely to uphold and protect
human rights principles and to promote international and domestic
instruments in the advancement of these principles.
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