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AU Human Rights Court Has No Jurisdiction in Zimbabwe

Harare Yet to Ratify African Charter on Human Rights

THE African Court on Human and People’s Rights has revealed that Zimbabwe has not yet ratified the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the establishment of the court, hence it has no jurisdiction to probe alleged human rights violations in the country.

African Court on Human and People’s Rights registrar Robert Eno, said this in a letter dated November 4, in response to issues raised by Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) president Mqondisi Moyo in letters dated April 26, 2021 and October 3, 2022 in which he complained over the escalation of human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

Moyo had asked the African Court to investigate the issue.

“I write in reference to your letter dated April 26, 2021 submitted to the court alleging human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Kindly note that the mandate of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (the court) is to complement the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights,” Eno’s response read.

“Kindly further note that the court does not engage in investigative missions per se, except for fact-finding missions connected directly with an application already filed before the court.”

Eno told Moyo that under the protocol of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the establishment of an African Court on Human and People’s Rights, they can only entertain applications submitted by individuals, and, or non-governmental organisations with observer status before the commission that are filed against a State party that has deposited the declaration under article 34(6) of the protocol.

“Please be informed that the Republic of Zimbabwe became a State party to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on October 21, 1986, but has neither ratified the protocol nor deposited the declaration under article 34(6) by which it would accept the jurisdiction of the court to consider applications filed by individuals and NGOs.”

“In the circumstances, therefore, the court lacks jurisdiction to consider any application against Zimbabwe. For this reason, your request is better suited to be filed at the commission in Banjul, The Gambia.”

The developments come as Zimbabwe is in the spotlight over escalation of human rights violations under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.

Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday told a visiting Commonwealth team that human rights violations were worsening in the country, while there is selective application of the law.

The African Union and the Southern African Development Community have been under fire for their failure to address prolonged human rights violations in Zimbabwe. Critics describe the organisations as clubs of old and power-hungry leaders seeking to protect each other to remain in power.

Bryan

Person for people. Reader of writings. Writer of readings.

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