Johannesburg – On Thursday 30 October 2014, the Constitutional Court will hand down judgment in the ground-breaking Zimbabwe torture case, which was 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.
“South Africa’s highest court is being asked to make a ruling that has enormous implications for the way in which South Africa upholds its international law commitments to bring suspected war criminals to book” said Nicole Fritz, SALC’s executive director. “This ruling will also set important precedent for the way courts around the world interpret these commitments within their own states.”
This is the final ruling in the landmark case that began in 2008, when ZEF and SALC handed over a dossier of evidence to the South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Services (SAPS), which detailed state-sanctioned torture in Zimbabwe.
“The Supreme Court of Appeal and High Court rulings in this case made it very clear that the South African authorities have a legal duty to investigate allegations of torture against senior Zimbabwean officials,” said Gabriel Shumba, ZEF Chairperson, “South Africa’s highest court will now make its views known on the matter.”
What: Constitutional Court to hand down judgment in the Zimbabwe Torture Case
Where: Constitutional Court, Johannesburg
When: Thursday 30 October at 10:00 am
In May 2012, the North Gauteng High Court set aside the decision of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) not to initiate an investigation into state-sanctioned torture in Zimbabwe. The High Court held that the South African authorities had not acted in accordance with their obligations under the domestic legislation and ruled that the decision had been taken unlawfully and unconstitutionally.
The matter was taken on appeal by the authorities and in November 2013 the Supreme Court of Appeal also held that SAPS, in particular, are empowered and required to investigate the crimes against humanity detailed in the dossier. SAPS alone appealed the judgment, taking this matter to the Constitutional Court.
For more information:
Nicole Fritz, Executive Director SALC, Office + 27 10 596 8538; Cell +27 82 600 1082; NicoleF@salc.org.za
Angela Mudukuti, SALC International Criminal Justice Project Lawyer, Office + 27 10 596 8538; Cell +27 76 762 3869; AngelaM@salc.org.za
Gabriel Shumba, ZEF Chairperson: Cell +27 84 664 9798
For live updates from the court:@Follow_SALC