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Justice for the marginalised
Rights NGO Forum
December 16, 2011
The High Court
of Zimbabwe on 14 December 2011, granted an Order in favour of Mr
Trust Katsoke, a victim of organised violence and torture. The Order
awarded damages to Mr Katsoke for shock, pain and suffering, loss
of property and contumelia amounting to US$8 000 (Eight Thousand
United States Dollars), following the assault on his person and
destruction of his property by ZANU PF youths in Mt Darwin in 2008.
The award was made against his assailants Sapren Nyamanhindi, Bayai
Chitengo, Zvirewo Chatsamwa, Tinei Mutape and Benson Zuze. Mr Katsoke
was represented by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum).
In brief, the
circumstances of his case were that Mr. Katsoke was approached by
a group of ZANU PF youths led by the above named five, at his homestead
in Chiutsi Village, Mt Darwin. The group, armed with rifles and
pick handles assaulted him with pick handles and booted feet all
over the body in full view of his family and neighbours. Thereafter
Mr Katsoke was abducted at gunpoint and taken to a base operated
by the assailants at Kamutsenzere Shopping centre. During the assault,
they continuously accused him of supporting the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). He did not deny the allegations as he believed it
is his constitutionally guaranteed right to associate with a political
party of his choice. The assailants later returned the following
day to Mr. Katsoke's homestead and looted his property before
setting his hut on fire. As a result of the assault and arson, Mr
Katsoke sustained numerous injuries and lost his entire property.
with assistance from the Forum, issued summons against his assailants
on the 23rd of October 2009. Despite receiving the summons, the
perpetrators failed or neglected to enter any response to the summons
resulting in the Forum approaching the Court for a Judgement in
Default. This culminated in an order being granted by Justice Bere
in Mr Katsoke's favour, compelling the Defendants to compensate
Mr Katsoke as claimed in the summons, for sum of US$8 000 (Eight
Thousand United States Dollars only).
It is the Forum's
hope that the Order will assist and abate Mr. Katsoke's loss
and suffering that he endured at the hands of the perpetrators.
The Order should serve as a wake-up call for the perpetrators who
had so far hidden behind their political affiliation to escape liability
for their unlawful actions. It will be served on the Defendants
together with a letter of demand for the amount awarded by the court
and if this is not settled by the Defendants, the Deputy Sheriff
will be enlisted by the Forum to attach the property of the Defendants
and to sell the same to recover the amount granted by the court
and other ancillary legal costs.
The Forum welcomes
the court order - a positive signal that the pervasive culture
impunity will not get the support of the courts. The order not only
deters would-be perpetrators, it is an acknowledgment that fundamental
human rights and liberties belong to all including the many victims
in the rural and marginalised areas of Zimbabwe.
Visit the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum fact
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