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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 194th session
(Geneva, 20 March 2014)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the cases of Mr. Job Sikhala, Mr. Paul Madzore and Mr. Nelson Chamisa, members of the opposition at the time the complaint was submitted, and to the resolution adopted on all three cases at its 190th session (April 2012) and the resolution adopted at its 192nd  session (March 2013) on the case of Mr. Chamisa,

Referring to the communications of December 2013 from the source in the case of Mr. Sikhala,

Noting that recent letters from the IPU Secretary General to the Speaker of the House of Assembly have remained unanswered,

Further noting that the IPU Secretary General has not received updated information from the sources regarding the cases of Mr. Madzore and Mr. Chamisa in over three years and that its communications have remained unanswered,

Taking into account that only Mr. Madzore remains a member of parliament to date,

Recalling that the cases all  concern the continuing impunity of State officials responsible for committing torture against Mr. Sikhala and Mr. Madzore in January 2003 and March 2007 and for failing to act when Mr. Chamisa was beaten up by security agents in 2007, the culprits having remained unpunished as well,

Recalling the following information on file:

  • 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 Organization (CIO) and military intelligence agents and taken for torture sessions; he had to be taken to a private hospital and be put on a life-support system because of the torture he had suffered;

  • Despite the existence of complaints and evidence, their torturers have not been brought to justice; Mr. Madzore filed a lawsuit for damages, on which no action was taken by the court; Mr. Sikhala filed an application to compel the police to investigate his complaint properly, which was never ruled upon by the High Court;

  • In May 2012, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights held that the State of Zimbabwe was responsible for the torture of Mr. Gabriel Shumba, who was Mr. Sikhala’s lawyer at the time, and had been arrested and tortured with him;

  • Mr. Chamisa was badly injured in an attack on 18 March 2007 at Harare International Airport, reportedly by State security agents in the presence of the police, who took no action; Mr. Chamisa never formally reported the assault to the police, as he felt doing so would not achieve anything, given that the police were present during the incident and failed to take any action to protect him; in the absence of any police docket, the authorities consistently affirmed that the police and the prosecutor’s office were unable to formulate charges and bring the case to the attention of the Attorney General’s Office and the courts,
Considering that, in December 2013, the source reaffirmed that Mr. Sikhala had clearly identified the police officers who had tortured him ever since his initial complaint, namely: (i) Mr. Chrispen Makadenge, who remains a serving member of the Zimbabwean Republic Police and was promoted to the senior position of Chief Superintendent in the investigative branch of the police; (ii) Mr. Matsvimbo, who was also promoted and currently works closely with police security; (iii) Mr. Garnet Sikovha and (iv) Mr. Mashashu, both of whom have since died,

Recalling that the Public Order and Security Act, enacted in 2002 and amended in 2007, gives the police sweeping powers; that it has been widely criticized as severely restricting freedom of expression, assembly and association considering the way in which police have interpreted the act to justify the excessive use of force and to deter dissenting voices from holding public rallies and demonstrations; the  Public Order and Security Act has not been repealed and no institutional and legislative reform has been undertaken to guarantee the effective impartiality of the police, the security forces and the judiciary and to ensure accountability for past abuses,

Recalling that Zimbabwe is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, under which it is obliged to respect the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment (Article 7), the right to liberty and security of person (Article 9), and the right to freedom of expression (Article 19), and to ensure that “any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy  (…)" (Article 2(3)(a)); further recalling that the prohibition of torture is a peremptory norm of international law and that, according to the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, “wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture (…) has been committed, the competent authorities of the State concerned shall promptly proceed to an impartial investigation (…)”; repeating that Zimbabwe, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is bound not only to prohibit torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, but also to institute ex officio investigations into known torture allegations in order to hold those responsible to account, and that the absence of a formal complaint regarding an attack of which the authorities were aware cannot be invoked to justify inaction,

  1. Concludes that the torture of the three members of parliament belonging to the opposition constitutes gross human rights violations and that the authorities of Zimbabwe have failed to take any effective action to hold the State officials responsible to account; considers that the Parliament of Zimbabwe has equally failed to exercise its oversight function effectively and to fulfil its duty and vested interest to ensure the protection of its members so that they may carry out their mandate without hindrance;

  2. Firmly believes that impunity, a serious human rights violation in itself, undermines the rule of law and respect for human rights in the country and is bound to encourage the repetition of similar crimes, as amply demonstrated in the cases in question;

  3. Is appalled in this regard that the attempts by the victims to promote justice and reparation have been systematically disregarded by the competent authorities, thatno serious investigation has been conducted, despite the evidence and the clear identification of the alleged perpetrators by the victims and that, in the case of Mr. Sikhala, rather than taking action against the alleged perpetrators, the authorities have promoted some of them within the security forces;

  4. Decides nevertheless to close the cases of  Mr. Madzore and Mr. Chamisa, in light of the fact that the sources have failed to respond to the communications addressed to them for an extended period of time, thus making it impossible for the Committee to effectively continue its examination of their cases;

  5. Underscores,however, that this decision does not make it in any way less imperative for the authorities to hold, in line with their legal duties as well as with the international human rights standards to which Zimbabwe has subscribed, the alleged perpetrators to account; urges them therefore to take, in all cases, necessary action without further delay;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary authorities and to the sources;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining the case of Mr. Sikhala and to report back to it in due course.

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