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South Africa/Zimbabwe: Case challenging NPA’s refusal to investigate cases of torture committed in Zimbabwe

In 2008, SALC submitted a dossier to the South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) containing comprehensive evidence of the involvement of eighteen Zimbabwean security officials in perpetrating torture, and requested the NPA and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to initiate an investigation. The NPA has an obligation to investigate cases of alleged international crimes under the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act. South Africa is obliged to investigate and prosecute anyone who commits a crime against humanity as defined by the International Criminal Court. After the NPA and SAPS refused to initiate an investigation, SALC and the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) took this decision on review to the North Gauteng High Court.

On 8 May 2012 Judge Hans Fabricius ruled in SALC’s favour and ordered the NPA and SAPS to initiate an investigation. This decision was taken on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) by the NPA and SAPS. On 26 November 2013, the SCA held that SAPS is both empowered and required to investigate the crimes against humanity detailed in the dossier.

In January 2014 only SAPS applied for leave to appeal the SCA decision. The matter was heard in the Constitutional Court and on 30 October 2014 the Constitutional Court unanimously ruled that SAPS have a duty to investigate and ordered that investigations begin without delay.

For more information on the case please see the Q and A.

Constitutional Court:


Amici Curiae Submissions:


Supreme Court of Appeal:


Judgment and Analysis:


The High Court Papers:

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