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Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal hears Zimbabwe torture case
Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC)
November 04, 2013
On Friday 1st
November, a full bench of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) heard
oral argument in the case brought by the Southern Africa Litigation
Centre (SALC) and the Zimbabwean Exiles Forum (ZEF) to compel South
Africa to abide by its domestic and international legal obligations
to investigate and prosecute high level Zimbabwean officials accused
of crimes against humanity.
The SCA reserved
judgment after hearing lengthy arguments from the South African
Police Services (SAPS), SALC and ZEF, and the amicus curiae AIDS
Free World, as well as brief argument from the National Prosecuting
The Court was
seized with the questions of whether or not South African authorities
have jurisdiction to investigate allegations of international crimes
and what circumstances would trigger an investigation.
await the judgment in this matter”, said Angela Mudukuti,
SALC’s international criminal justice project lawyer. “We
hope the case will encourage adherence to local and international
legal obligations in order to prevent South Africa from becoming
a safe haven for suspected perpetrators of international crimes.”
In May 2012,
the North Gauteng High Court set aside the decision of the NPA and
the SAPS not to initiate an investigation into crimes against humanity
committed in Zimbabwe, following a police raid on the Movement for
Democratic Change’s Harvest House headquarters in 2007. The
NPA and SAPS petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeal after the High
Court refused leave to appeal.
SALC was represented
by Lawyers for Human Rights and by Advocate Wim Trengrove SC, Advocate
Gilbert Marcus SC, and Max du Plessis.
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