IPU Logo-middleInter-Parliamentary Union  
IPU Logo-bottomChemin du Pommier 5, C.P. 330, CH-1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland  


Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 187th session
(Geneva, 6 October 2010)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Roy Bennett, Mr. Job Sikhala, Mr. Paul Madzore and Mr. Nelson Chamisa, opposition members of the Parliament of Zimbabwe at the time the complaint was submitted, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/187/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 186th session (April 2010),

Recalling the following:

  • Mr. Sikhala and Mr. Madzore were tortured by police officers in January 2003 and March 2007 respectively; Mr. Siikahla, in his complaint regarding his torture provided medical certificates and names of suspects who were even divulged in media reports at the time; in the case of Mr. Madzore, who told the court about his torture when he appeared for initial remand on 20 March 2007, it would be possible to establish their identity, since (a) Mr. Madzore stated that, while in remand custody, he was regularly visited by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and military intelligence agents and taken to torture sessions; he had to be taken to a private hospital and to be put on a life support system because of the torture he had suffered; however, despite the existence of complaints and evidence, their torturers have to date not been brought to justice; Mr. Madzore filed a lawsuit for damages on which no action has been taken so far, and the application filed by Mr. Sikhala to compel the police to investigate his complaint properly has yet to be ruled on by the High Court;

  • Mr. Chamisa was badly injured in an attack on 18 March at Harare International Airport, reportedly by State security agents; the police took no action, arguing that Mr. Chamisa had not lodged a complaint; Mr. Chamisa does not wish to lodge a complaint since the attack occurred in the presence of police officers who did nothing to stop and arrest the attackers;

  • Mr. Bennett and his family were the target of persistent harassment between 2002 and 2006; Parliament sentenced him in October 2004 to one year in prison for having, in May 2004, jostled a Minister during a parliamentary debate; he served the sentence until his release in June 2005; Mr. Bennett was forced to leave the country in 2006 for fear of his life and was therefore unable to participate in the 2008 elections; upon his return to Zimbabwe, instead of being sworn in to the post given to him, namely that of Deputy Agriculture Minister, he was arrested on 13 February 2009 and first charged under the Immigration Act and, when the charge was dropped, charged with treason, which charge was also dismissed; he was ultimately 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 to overthrow the Government; the Court acquitted Mr. Bennett on 10 May 2010, declaring inadmissible the testimony by the key prosecution witness, who had previously stated that his evidence had been extracted under torture,
Considering that, in his letter of 30 August 2010, the Attorney General of Zimbabwe had the following to say: (a) Mr. Chamisa, Mr. Sikhala and Mr. Madzore have not brought any admissible evidence proving any identifiable suspect and, that being so, there is no basis for alleging that they have not been accorded the protection of the law; (b) there is a host of lies in issues to do with Mr. Roy Bennett in that the latter has not substantiated the allegations of political victimization; his issues are purely legal matters, which were brought through the Zimbabwe courts and tribunals; (c) the Attorney General’s Office has nothing to do with civil claims and the “inordinate delay” in the hearing of Mr. Madzore’s and Mr. Sikhala’s civil claims and his prosecutorial mandate; (d) he expressed surprise that the IPU could "embroil itself in matters that are largely internal to Zimbabwe to an extent of interfering with an independent office such as the office of the Attorney General"; he advised the IPU to "desist from asking for matters which Zimbabwe citizens could raise with appropriate institutions and reminded it of its lack of locus standi to direct his office who to prosecute or otherwise”,

Recalling that the Speaker of the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe has repeatedly stated that Parliament is firmly committed to protecting the human rights of its members and to taking action to this end within the limits imposed by the doctrine of the separation of powers,

  1. Thanks the Attorney General for his letter and for the information and observations he provided;

  2. Recalls that the Inter-Parliamentary Union, of which the Parliament of Zimbabwe is a long-standing member, established the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians and entrusted it with the mandate to examine allegations of human rights violations affecting members of parliament, and that, in entrusting it with this mandate, the IPU seeks to strengthen the institution of parliament as such, since a parliament can only function with the necessary independence if its members enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms;

  3. Stresses that, in carrying out its mandate, the Committee and the IPU recall the human rights obligations incumbent upon States by virtue of their own national law or international obligations but in no way interfere with the independence of any State institution and certainly do not direct any State office what or what not to do;

  4. Stresses that Zimbabwe is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to life and prohibits torture, obliging States to institute ex officio investigation into known crimes against life and torture allegations and complaints so as to identify the culprits and bring them to justice;

  5. Remains therefore deeply concerned at the continuing impunity of the State officials responsible for the torture of Mr. Sikhala and Mr. Madzore and of the State agents who allegedly carried out the attack on Mr. Chamisa;

  6. Considers that the existing evidence regarding the torture of Mr. Madzore and Mr. Sikhala would enable a serious investigation to identify those responsible and to bring them to justice; stresses that, while the Attorney General’s Office is not responsible for examining civil claims, complaints about the torture of both members of parliament exist but have not been seriously investigated; considers that, regarding the attack on Mr. Chamisa, the absence of a formal complaint should not be invoked to justify inaction, since the authorities are aware of the attack and are under an ex officio duty to investigate it and hold the perpetrators to account;

  7. Reaffirms that 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 when the perpetrators are State officials;

  8. Earnestly hopes therefore that the Attorney General’s Office will take action to investigate the attack against Mr. Chamisa and the torture complaint of Mr. Sikhala and Mr. Madzore;

  9. Notes that, as the Attorney Generalstated,the delays in the civil proceedings are “inordinate” and requests the Secretary General to contact the competent authorities with a view to ascertaining the reasons for such undue delays;

  10. Remains confident that the House of Assembly is translating its commitment to human rights into action by making full use of its oversight role to ensure that the competent authorities are indeed fulfilling their duties under the law;

  11. Takes note of Mr. Bennett's acquittal on the latest charges brought against him; can but consider, however, that the sequence of events in these proceedings, in particular the use of torture to support the accusations against Mr. Bennett, emphasizes that they were without any legal and factual basis, for a start, and were intended to eliminate him from politics; trusts that Mr. Bennett will now finally be able to pursue his political activities and take up the responsibilities assigned to him;

  12. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary and competent authorities and to the parliamentarians concerned;

  13. Requests the Committee to continue examining the cases of Mr. Sikhala, Mr. Madzore and Mr. Chamisa and to report to it at its next session, to be held during the 124th PU Assembly (April 2011).
Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 123rd IPU Assembly and related meetings" in PDF format (file size 587K approximately). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader