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Human Rights NGO Forum director in court 25 July - Court Watch 13/2012
July 24, 2012

Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Director Abel Chikomo in Court 25th July

Time: 8.30 am. Court No. 5, Magistrates Court, Rotten Row.

This case is of wide interest and importance for human rights activists and the NGO sector

Abel Chikomo, director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum [HR NGO Forum], will be in Harare Magistrates Court tomorrow to answer a charge of contravening the Private Voluntary Organisations Act [PVO Act]. The defence lawyer is Mr Selby Hwacha.

The HR NGO Forum

This is a coalition of nineteen human rights NGOs in Zimbabwe which, while having their own objectives, are all concerned with the level and nature of organized violence and torture in the country. Its Public Interest Unit, which undertakes legal proceedings on behalf of victims of organised violence and torture, currently has over 700 active cases that are before the magistrates court, High Court and Supreme Court.

The charge

The charge is that Mr Chikomo manages an unregistered private voluntary organisation knowing that it carries on its activities without having registered in terms of the PVO Act. That is an offence under section 6(3) of the Act.

Mr Chikomo denies having contravened the PVO Act

Mr Chikomo denies that the HR NGO Forum, as a common law universitas [association with legal personality distinct from its members] that is recognized by section 89 of the Constitution, is required to register under the Act.

Late delivery of documents to the Defence

Although the State only supplied the defence with the witnesses’ statements this afternoon, 24th July, the defence is ready to proceed with the trial.

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