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Resolution adopted without a vote by the IPU Council
at its 170th session (Marrakech, 23 March 2002)

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Having before it the case of Mr. Justin Mutendadzamera, Mr. Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, Mr. Moses Mzila Ndlovu, Mr. David Mpala, Mr. Abednico Bhebhe, Mr. Peter Nyoni and Mr. David Coltart, incumbent members of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, which has been the subject of a study and report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians in accordance with the "Procedure for the examination and treatment, by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, of communications concerning violations of human rights of parliamentarians",

Taking note of the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, which contains a detailed outline of the case (CL/170/13.c(ii)-R.1),

Considering that the parliamentarians concerned all belong to the opposition "Movement for Democratic Change" (MDC) and that the following information regarding them has been submitted:

  • Mr. Justin Mutendadzamera, his wife and stepson were severely ill-treated by police on 17 October 2000, who, without due authorisation, broke into his house and beat them; when the MP concerned asked for an explanation, the police answered that they had been ordered by Inspector Nyamupaguma to "fix them" for orchestrating recent food riots, an accusation which Mr. Mutendzamera vehemently denied; he lodged a complaint about the ill-treatment but no investigation has been launched; Mr. Mutendadzamera intends to sue the Government for the harm he suffered;
  • Mr. David Mpala was kidnapped on 13 January 2002, reportedly by supporters of the ruling party, in full public view at Lupane business centre and, after being stabbed in the abdomen, was dumped 6 km away, people at the scene helped him to go to the police station and to hospital, where he was put on a life-support system; the culprits are said to be known war veterans and identifiable; according to the source, the police officer commanding Matabeleland North Province confirmed the attack but it is unclear whether an investigation has been launched;
  • Mr. Fletcher Dulini-Ncube was arrested on 15 November 2001 and charged, along with seven other persons, with the murder of Cain Nkala, a leading war veteran and Limukani Luphala in early November and late October 2001, respectively; Mr. Dulini-Ncube's arrest is said to have followed “confessions” by two other MDC members, who later stated in court that they had only named him after being tortured by police officers for that purpose; overturning a decision of the High Court, the Supreme Court on 17 December 2001 granted Mr. Dulini-Ncube release on bail but ordered him to deposit a certain sum of money, to surrender his passport and to report three times a week to the police; Mr. Dulini-Ncube, who is 61 and a diabetic, was held in harsh conditions and did not receive the medical treatment he required, which, according to the source, resulted in his virtual loss of sight in one eye;
  • Mr. Moses Mzila Ndluvo was arrested on 18 November 2001, reportedly on charges of kidnapping and assault in relation with the abduction and murder of Cain Nkala and Limukani Luphala; however, when he appeared in court on 21 November, he was charged with the kidnapping of another person; although no evidence was reportedly produced to substantiate the charge, Mr. Ndluvo was not granted release on bail until 3 December 2001;
  • While campaigning on 6 February 2002 for the opposition presidential candidate, Mr. Bhebhe and Mr. Nyoni were beaten up by military personnel and Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) militia; they were arrested, and held in conditions which amount to inhuman treatment and reportedly charged with throwing stones and being in possession of dangerous weapons; the MPs deny the charges and have been released on bail; no trial date is said to have been set as yet;
  • According to the source, Mr. David Coltart, an MP and long-standing human rights defender, had been away from his constituency and on returning home found that a "camp" for youth militia belonging to the ruling ZANU-PF party had been set up very close to his house; he telephoned the police to ask if they had been given permission for the camp to be set up there; subsequently, Mr. Coltart received a telephone call from the police accusing him and a family friend of having fired shots at the camp and summoned him for police questioning; on reporting to the police on 18 February 2002, he was arrested and charged with discharging a firearm into the air and with being in charge of a vehicle while drunk; he denies both charges and was reportedly released on bail that same day and remanded to appear in Court on 25 March 2002; the source holds that the prosecution is politically motivated,

Considering the climate of confrontation which has prevailed in Zimbabwe in the run-up to and aftermath of the Presidential election of 9-10 March 2002; noting reports that the authorities and their ruling party are using militia - comprised of so-called "war veterans" and supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party - as proxy forces to assault members of the opposition MDC party, and that those who have committed such abuses are seldom investigated, seldom arrested and very seldom prosecuted,

  1. Deeply regrets that the Speaker has not replied to the many requests for information addressed to him;
  2. Is shocked at the reports of Mr. Mutendadzamera, Mr. Mpala, Mr. Bhebhe and Mr. Nyoni being severely ill-treated by police officers, war veterans or militia belonging to the ruling ZANU-PF party, and at the absence of any official action to bring the culprits to trial, even when their identify is known;
  3. Is deeply concerned at the arrests of Mr. Ndluvo, Mr. Bhebhe, Mr. Nyoni and Mr. Coltart, reportedly without any serious evidence being presented to substantiate the charges against them; is alarmed that in the case of Mr. Dulini-Ncube the prosecution's main evidence has allegedly been obtained under duress, since the use of such evidence is prohibited under Article 12 of the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; desires consequently to ascertain the concrete facts currently adduced to justify the accusations against the MPs in question;
  4. Expresses concern that Mr. Bhebhe and Mr. Nyoni were reportedly detained in inhuman conditions; is shocked that, owing to his bad conditions of detention, Mr. Dulini-Ncube has suffered irreversible damage to his health; urges the authorities to provide him redress and would appreciate information as to any steps taken in that connection;
  5. Stresses that Zimbabwe, under its Constitution and as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, is obliged to guarantee the right to life, the right to liberty and security of person, the right to physical integrity of persons under its custody as well as the right not to be subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment; also stresses that those instruments oblige the authorities to provide a remedy in respect of violations thereof;
  6. Can but express its concern that the allegations, taken together, seem to reveal a systematic and widespread pattern of intimidating and stifling the opposition and as such constitute a serious threat to democracy;
  7. Emphasises that it is in the interest of Parliament to ensure that such acts do not remain unpunished, and therefore urges Parliament to take all possible steps to ensure that the culprits are brought to justice, that the MPs in question obtain compensation, that groundless charges against them are dropped and that such abuses are prevented from recurring, in order to enable the opposition to participate fully in political life without fear;
  8. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the Speaker of Parliament and the competent authorities, inviting them to provide the requested information;
  9. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (September 2002).

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