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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 188th session
(Panama, 20 April 2011)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of 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/188/13(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 187th session (October 2010),

Recalling the following:

  • Mr. Sikhala and Mr. Madzore were tortured by police officers in January 2003 and March 2007 respectively; Mr. Sikhala, in his complaint regarding his torture provided medical certificates and names of suspects that were even divulged in media reports at the time; Mr. Madzore told the court about his torture when he appeared for initial remand on 20 March 2007; he 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;

  • Despite the existence of complaints and evidence, their torturers have so far 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 2007 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,
Recalling that, in his letter of 30 August 2010, the Attorney General of Zimbabwe affirmed that Mr. Chamisa, Mr. Sikhala and Mr. Madzore had not brought any admissible evidence enabling any suspect(s) to be identified and, that being so, there was no basis for alleging that they had not been accorded the protection of the law,

Recalling furthermore that the Speaker of the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe has repeatedly stated in the past 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. Remains deeply concerned at the continuing impunity of the State officials responsible for the torture of Mr. Sikhala and Mr. Madzore and the State agents who allegedly carried out the attack on Mr. Chamisa;

  2. Can but consider that, since a serious investigation of the existing evidence with respect to the torture should have permitted the identification and punishment of the culprits, and that the attempts by the victims to promote justice and reparation apparently continue to be disregarded, the present state of affairs can only be viewed as the intentional failure of the authorities to redress a flagrant human rights violation committed by their officials;

  3. Recalls that Zimbabwe, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), is bound not only to guarantee the right to life and to prohibit torture, but also to institute ex officio investigation into known crimes against life and into torture allegations and complaints in order to hold those responsible to account; stresses also in this connection that, with respect to the attack on Mr. Chamisa, the absence of a formal complaint regarding an attack of which the authorities are aware cannot be invoked to justify inaction;

  4. Again urges the authorities therefore to fulfil their duty to make a serious effort, without any further delay, to identify and punish the culprits of both the torture and the attack; also urges them to take action forthwith on the legal steps taken by Mr. Sikhala and Mr. Madzore;

  5. Affirms that the current appalling state of affairs in this case should be of great concern to the Parliament of Zimbabwe; urges it therefore to give serious meaning to its stated commitment to protecting the rights of its members by using its oversight function to the fullest in order to ensure that the competent authorities are finally indeed taking action; would appreciate receiving further details in this respect;

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

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 125th IPU Assembly (October 2011).
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