SA 'has obligation to probe Zim torture officials'

2014-10-30 06:03
The Constitutional Court (File, Sapa)

The Constitutional Court (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court is expected to hand down judgment on whether South African authorities should investigate claims of torture against senior Zimbabwean officials.

The case was brought by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and the Zimbabwean Exiles Forum in 2008 following a police raid on the headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change the year before.

They argue that South Africa has domestic and international legal obligations to investigate and prosecute high-level Zimbabwean officials accused of crimes against humanity.

The two bodies handed over a dossier of evidence to the National Prosecuting Authority and the police, which pointed to torture in Zimbabwe sanctioned by that state.

In 2012, the High Court in Pretoria held that the South African authorities had not acted in accordance with their obligations, and that the decision not to probe the matter had been taken unlawfully and unconstitutionally.

The NPA and police appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in November last year.

Andre Ferreira, for the police, said then that the police could investigate a person allegedly involved in a crime only when that person set foot in the country.

He argued that to spend resources on an investigation where there were no prospects of a prosecution, such as if a foreigner might enter the country, would be wrong because it would lead to nothing.

The SCA held that the police, in particular, were empowered and required to investigate the crimes against humanity, as detailed in the dossier.

Read more on:    sca  |  saps  |  zimbabwe  |  sa

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