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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Council
at its 171st session (Geneva, 27 September 2002)

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of 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, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/171/12(a)-R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 170th session (March 2002),

Taking account of information provided by the sources on 3 and 8 August, and on 14, 21 and 24 September 2002,

Considering that at present, apart from the case of Mr. Mutendadzamera, the file on the parliamentarians concerned, all members of the opposition party "Movement for Democratic Change" (MDC), contains only the allegations and information submitted by the sources, which are as follows:

  • On 17 October 2000, Mr. Justin Mutendadzamera, his wife and stepson were severely ill-treated by the police, who, without due authorisation, broke into their house and beat them; he lodged a complaint about the ill-treatment but no investigation has been launched; at the end of 2001, Mr. Mutendadzamera intended to sue the Government for the prejudice he suffered; it is unclear at this stage whether he has indeed brought such a suit and, if so, what the outcome has been;

  • Mr. David Mpala was kidnapped on 13 January 2002 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 and identified war veterans close to the party in power; the police officer commanding Matabeleland North Province confirmed the attack; according to one of the sources on 21 September 2002, no investigation has been launched;

  • Mr. Fletcher Dulini-Ncube was arrested on 15 November 2001 and charged with murder on the basis of "confessions" by two other MDC members, which they later stated in court had been obtained under duress; on 17 December 2001 the Supreme Court 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; however, Mr. Dulini-Ncube was reportedly re-arrested and indicted in this case, in spite of an appeal pending before the Supreme Court; a bail application has been filed and a trial hearing is reportedly scheduled for 11 November 2002; on the occasion of both arrests, Mr. Dulini-Ncube, who is 61 and a diabetic, was reportedly held in harsh conditions and did not receive the necessary medical treatment, which, according to the source, resulted in his virtual loss of sight in one eye; while he currently remains in hospital until his doctors determine that he is fit to leave, he has reportedly been forced to wear a prison uniform and leg irons;

  • Mr. Moses Mzila Ndluvo was arrested on 18 November 2001, reportedly on charges first of murder and then of kidnapping, and was subjected to inhuman treatment while in detention; although no evidence was reportedly produced to substantiate the charge, Mr. Ndlovu was not granted release on bail until 14 December 2001, and only then on conditions greatly limiting his freedom of movement; according to information provided by the source on 14 September 2002, while charges were withdrawn in this case on 3 June 2002 for want of evidence, Mr. Ndlovu had reportedly been faced with two new fabricated criminal cases, on which the courts still have to pronounce; the source fears for Mr. Ndlovu's life;

  • While campaigning on 6 February 2002 for the opposition presidential candidate, Mr. Abednico Bhebhe and Mr. Peter Nyoni were beaten up by military personnel and Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) militia; they were arrested, held in conditions amounting 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; they appeared in court on 17 September 2002, after which their case was remanded until 19 November 2002; no trial date has apparently been set; moreover, Mr. Bhebhe has two other charges pending against him: namely a charge regarding his public denunciation of an attack perpetrated against him on 26 May 2001, when he was beaten unconscious by a group of ZANU-PF supporters and war veterans, and a charge on account of allegedly attending a political meeting; a charge which was brought against him after he was detained for several hours on 8 July 2002 at the Central Police Station in Bulawayo;

  • Mr. David Coltart, an MP and long-standing human rights defender, upon 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; when he asked the police whether permission had been given, they accused Mr. Coltart of having fired shots at the "camp"; upon reporting to the police on 18 February 2002, Mr. Coltart was arrested and charged with discharging a firearm into the air; he denies the charge and was reportedly released on bail; the case has been remanded and the trial has been set for 18 November 2002,

Recalling that, according to the sources, the authorities and the ruling party are using militia - comprising so-called "war veterans" and supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party - as proxy forces to assault members of the opposition MDC party, and those who have committed such abuses are seldom investigated, seldom arrested and very seldom prosecuted,

  1. Deeply regrets that no communication has been received from the parliamentary authorities, particularly in view of the serious allegations made regarding the situation of the MPs concerned;

  2. Is shocked at the new allegations of arbitrary arrest and ill-treatment of Mr. Ndlovu, Mr. Bhebhe and Mr. Dulini-Ncube, and at the conditions in which the latter is said to be held in hospital; recalls in this respect that the use of leg irons runs counter to the general principle, as enshrined in the United Nations Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners, that prisoners should be treated with due respect for their inherent dignity and value as human beings, and that their use is prohibited under the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners;

  3. Recalls, moreover, that Zimbabwe is obliged, 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, to guarantee the rights to life, to liberty and security of person, to physical integrity and to remedy in respect of violations of such rights;

  4. Considers that, given the allegations and the lack of any official information, an on-site mission would enable the Committee to make progress in this case; therefore requests the Committee to carry out such a mission and to gather from the competent parliamentary, governmental, judicial and administrative authorities, as well as from the MPs concerned, including those in detention, their lawyers and families and competent human rights organisations, as much detailed information as possible on their situation;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to contact the parliamentary authorities with a view to organising such a mission as early as possible, and earnestly hopes that it will meet with their approval;

  6. Meanwhile calls on Parliament, as a guardian of human rights, to take action to ensure that the fundamental rights of the MPs concerned are respected, their personal security is guaranteed and those responsible for the attacks on them are brought to justice, being convinced that allegations indicating the systematic and widespread intimidation of MDC members require effective action from Parliament;

  7. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (April 2003) in the light of such information as the mission may have gathered.

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