South Africa, Zimbabwe Clash Over Ruling On Human Rights Abuse

South Africa is presently having serious legal battles with the government of Zimbabwe over the recent ruling by a North Gauteng high court that Pretoria should investigate Zimbabwean officials for alleged human rights abuses.

Only recently, South Africa had immigration rows with the Nigeria government over alleged fake yellow fever vaccination cards that led to deportations of a lot of travellers from both countries.

While the South African authorities hailed the judgement of the North Gauteng High Court that Pretoria must investigate Zimbabwean officials who are accused of involvement in torture and crimes against humanity, the Zimbabwe said that the judgement was irrelevant.

In his reaction through a statement made available to Journalists, Zimbabwean Minister for Justice and Legal Affairs, Mr. Patrick Chinamasa condemned the judgement, saying that it would bring the South African justice system into disrepute.

Chinamasa also described the ruling as irrelevant, stressing that it was a general judgement without specifics.

Saying this was part of efforts by ex-Rhodesians pushing for illegal regime change in Zimbabwe, the Minister said the ruling was part of an agenda aimed at putting Zimbabwe in the spotlight ahead of a visit to Zimbabwe by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Ms Navi Pillay.

“Ms Pillay is expected in Zimbabwe later this month and these people are working in cahoots with the ex-Rhodies who brought a case against Government on the land issue. They use the same source of funding to push a vendetta by white former colonial masters to cast Zimbabwe in the worst light to the world.” said Minister Chinamasa.

He further said Zimbabwe’s leadership had done nothing to bring it under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Courts, noting that no specifics have been identified because they should have laid a blow to blow account of what crime has been committed.

He said the International Criminal Court had no jurisdiction over Zimbabwe as the country was not a State party to the Rome Statute that constituted it. “This is being used to target leaders from weak nations and the ICC was created to solely prosecute African leaders in the West’s bid to re-colonise the continent.” He noted.

“We were appalled by the arrest and prosecution of African leaders and felt that we cannot belong to a politicised criminal justice system,” said Minister Chinamasa.

Minister Chinamasa said South Africa had no jurisdiction to arrest and try Zimbabweans for alleged crimes from within.

“Even if a Zimbabwean commits a crime in South Africa and escapes back home they have got to go through the necessary legal processes for the person to be extradited to that country for trial,” he said.

While the South African judge said South Africa should hold Zimbabwean officials responsible for alleged crimes, South African prosecutors indicated that such investigations would be beyond their mandate.

-Culled from Leadership

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