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Resolution adopted by concensus by the IPU Governing Council at its 185th session*
(Geneva, 21 October 2009)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Roy Bennett, Mr. Job Sikhala, Mr. Tendai Biti, Mr. Paul Madzore and Mr. Nelson Chamisa, opposition members of the Parliament of Zimbabwe at the time of the submission of the complaint, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/185/11(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 184th session (April 2009),

Recalling the following:

  • The persons in question were members of parliament in the 2000-2005 period; while Job Sikhala did not stand in the 2005 elections and Roy Bennett was prevented from standing, Mr. Madzore, Mr Biti and Mr. Chamisa were re-elected; Mr. Biti was rearrested on 12 June 2008 and charged with treason; the charge was dropped after he was appointed Minister of Finance in the Government of National Unity formed in February 2009; Mr. Chamisa was appointed Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology in the Unity Government; as to Roy Bennett, he was nominated for the position of Deputy Minister of Agriculture;

  • Mr. Sikhala and Mr. Madzore were tortured in January 2003 and March 2007 respectively; their torturers, although their identity is known or would be easy to establish, have to date not been brought to justice; Mr. Biti and Mr. Chamisa, together with many others who were attending a prayer meeting, were severely beaten by the police in March 2007 and, furthermore, Mr. Chamisa was badly injured in an attack on him later in the same month;

  • Mr. Bennett and his family were the target of persistent harassment between 2002 and 2006; in October 2004, parliament sentenced him to one year in prison for having, in May 2004, pushed a Minister during a parliamentary debate and he served the sentence until his release in June 2005; Mr. Bennett was finally led to leave the country in 2006 for fear of his life and he was therefore unable to participate in the 2008 elections; upon his return to Zimbabwe, he was arrested on 13 February 2009 and first charged under the Immigration Act and, when the charge was dropped, a charge of treason was brought against him, which was also dismissed; he was finally charged under the Public Order and Security Act for allegedly possessing weaponry with the intention of using it for acts of banditry, sabotage or terrorism; he was granted bail and released on 12 March 2009,
Considering that Mr. Bennett was rearrested on 14 October 2009 and that his case was due to be heard on 19 October 2009,

Considering also that Mr. Paul Madzore filed a lawsuit against the Government claiming compensation for the prejudice he suffered during his detention and torture; that, however, the case seems to be at a standstill,

Recalling that at the hearing the Committee held with him during the 120th Assembly (April 2009), the Speaker of the House of Assembly stated that the parliament was concerned about human rights abuses and that the new political dispensation gave hope that there would be fairness and justice, and undertook to look into these cases and provide relevant information,

  1. Expresses deep concern at Mr. Bennett’s rearrest and the charges brought against him; requests the Secretary General to consider the possibility of sending an international observer to the proceedings;

  2. Remains deeply concerned at the continuing impunity of the State officials responsible for the attacks on Mr. Biti and Mr. Chamisa, and the torture of Mr. Sikhala and Mr. Madzore; can only reaffirm that such impunity is highly detrimental to the rule of law and respect for human rights in the country and is bound to encourage the repetition of crime, which is all the more serious in the case of State officials being responsible for such crimes; also expresses deep concern that Mr. Madzore’s compensation lawsuit is not advancing and wishes to receive detailed information on the proceedings;

  3. Affirms that the parliament has a duty and has the competence, as part of its oversight function, to ensure that the rights of all its members are respected, and urges the House of Assembly to make every effort to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are identified and brought to justice and that the victims are paid due compensation; requests the Secretary General to share the information it has on file regarding the torture cases with the competent United Nations human rights mechanisms;

  4. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent authorities and to the source;

  5. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 122nd IPU Assembly (April 2010).

* The delegation of Zimbabwe expressed its reservation regarding the resolution.
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