Zim farmers file ‘historic’ case at African Commission

Farmers Ben Freeth and Luke Tembani

By Alex Bell
15 January 2013

Two Zimbabwean farmers, who both had their farms seized under the land grab campaign, will make history this week when a legal challenge against the suspension of the regional human rights Tribunal is filed at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

A comprehensive submission contesting the crippling of the Tribunal’s work will be filed with the African Commission by the farmers’ legal team this week. This follows the Commission’s ruling last November that the complaint lodged with it on behalf of farmers Luke Tembani and Ben Freeth, against SADC leaders for suspending the human rights Tribunal, was ‘admissible’.

The complaint by Tembani and Freeth was filed as part of the ongoing battle for the future of the Tribunal, which was suspended more than two years by SADC leaders over its rulings against the Zimbabwe government. The court had ruled that the land grab was unlawful, and then held Zimbabwe in contempt of court for refusing to honour its original ruling.

The court also held the government of Zimbabwe in breach of the SADC Treaty and other international legal obligations. But instead of taking action against Zimbabwe, SADC leaders suspended the court in 2010 for a review of its mandate. Two years later the court remains inactive. Regional justice ministers have proposed that the court only be reinstated with a very limited human rights mandate, which blocks individual access to the court.

14 SADC leaders have been cited as respondents in the landmark case launched by Tembani and Freeth, which was originally made to the SADC Tribunal in 2011, but will now be heard by the African Commission. It is the first time in legal history that a group of heads of state is being cited by an individual as the respondent in an application to an international body.

The Tribunal meanwhile has been deliberately hamstrung by SADC governments, who have agreed that the court will only be allowed to continue its work if individual access to the court is stopped. This means that the court cannot fulfil its chief mandate, which is to uphold the human rights of all SADC citizens.

Freeth told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that the African Commission’s interest in the case is “exciting,” because the fight for the Tribunal will now be held on an international stage.

“We will now have this argued before the eyes of the world,” Freeth said.

He explained that the case is not just about farmers in Zimbabwe, but about fundamental human rights of the entire SADC region, rights that are being actively infringed on by the suspension of the court.

“This fight goes to the core of problems in Southern Africa. The region has huge potential for growth and development, but we are not moving forward. This case addresses the reasons for this,” Freeth said.

He added that the case will also shine a spotlight on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe ahead of elections, which he warned are likely to be “bloody.”

“This is going to be an extremely difficult year. Nothing has happened to stop what happened in previous elections from happening again,” he warned, adding that the case will highlight the need for a strong, independent human rights court.

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27 Responsesto “Zim farmers file ‘historic’ case at African Commission”

  1. Chimbwido Warvet says:

    When people become desperate, they resort to doing all sorts of silly and foolish things. They can not believe their stolen farms are now in hands of their rightful owners. And they think the African Union will listen to foreigners instead of siding with its own people who have been robbed, abused, ignored and enslaved in their country of birth by foreigners for hundreds of years. Of course, some white guys who have been accustomed to live like kings in my country while my people suffer at their hands still live on utopia island or what I would describe as their dreamland.

    • Gavi says:

      They are Zimbabweans, gone are the days when africans were only black or europeans only white. Shut your smelly mouth , otherwise pour a bit of harpic in it.

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        Unfortunately you are living in your own fantasy and foolish world where you think the white people will ever help and live side-by-side amicably with the black people of Zimbabwe they once dominated and controlled. For them it has always been in pursuit of their racial interests with no thought of the black man who lived in their back gardens working as their cooks or domestic servants.
        For hundreds of years, it has been proven to be false that we can co-exist as one people and it can not happen in this 21st century. For the white people who were born in Zimbabwe or those who came all the way from Europe it has been the subjugation and enslavement of the black people and the practice is still largely the same today. It is for this simple reason that the black people of this country have to look after themselves and to careless about the interests of foreigners. We now know their mentality very well.

        By the way, Billy Rautenbach is the only white man in Zimbabwe who has been able to play his cards well. He quickly adapted to the prevailing situation when we attained independence up until now. Besides, Billy Rautenbach fully understands and knows his place unlike the other bunch of whites who still want to live like kings in my country of birth while my people suffer at their fu…g hands.

        • Common Sense says:

          You live in a mental vacuum. In both your pieces above you talk about black STILL suffering at the hands of the whites. Whilst we are all sure there are fragments of this occurring, the fact is that blacks on remaining white farms are looked after and respected…. one hell of a lot more than blacks on black farms.

          This I know first hand and from many regions, not just hearsay or speculation. This is 2013, things have changed and you have not moved on.

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            First of all you need to define for me your understanding of the terms ‘mental vacuum’ for it seems to me you are not even clear in your f…g mind what it means.
            You make comparisons between black and white farmers who have enjoyed advantages over blacks dating back to many hundreds of years while black farmers have only been on their farms for 12 years and some just beginning a career in farming. And just as they have started commercial farming, economic sanctions have been imposed against the country to ensure they do not succeed. How can they treat their workers better if impediments have been placed in their way?
            I have a feeling you are living in your fantasy world where your mind has been clouded to see reality. You obviously want to show-off to the white folks that you are a better human-being than Chimbwido Warvet. What an Uncle Tom

          • Martin says:

            1. Whites only started farming 113 years ago – not hundreds. 2. Within 12 years of 1892 the country’s farms were booming. 3. Those farms weren’t just given to the “chefs” of those days to destroy. 4. The sanctions are against your ZANUPF leaders, not the country and its economy as a whole. You are the one living in a fantasy world, not your correspondent. He sees sense in putting the past to bed, as they have mainly done in SA. From your writings I don’t think you even know the meaning of War vet… people who fought for Zimbabwe’s freedom and who have been disgusted to find the country’s economy on its knees 33 years later. Even at the height of real sanctions against the old Rhodesia the R$ was on a par with the £. It certainly didn’t cost billions for a loaf of bread. Really Mr Warvet, direct your energies towards creating the kind of country Zimbabwe could/should be, rather than at trying to create hatred between the races. PS… I bet you are not really a War Vet at all but I bet you’re taking the pension.

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            Putting the past to bed will never be an option because white capitalism has thrived in telling the black people of this country to bury the past, bury even their Shona/Ndebele names and language, bury their rich culture and history. The sad thing is they were told to remember the English culture and tradition, English language, Christianity while we were told ours were for the pagans. We have lost our rich culture and tradition in the process and nothing to teach our children.
            We were not born yesterday boy. We are fully aware of the games that are played by whites to get their way all the time.
            And by the way, Chimbwido Warvet is just but a name. It has no connotations with being a war veteran, you silly old man/woman.

          • infairness says:

            Think you should investigate before writing sanctions were not imposed on everyone, try accessing paypal from zimbabwe – it will state doue to US treasurery sanctions you may not access this site from the country you are now in= of course the propaganda doesw not agree with facts.
            again british citizens had travel bans imposed for being the financial director of Anglo for example.
            Applt for funding from the Brit aembassy, they have a fund for your propaganmda..

    • Anonymous says:

      Zimbabwe is for all people ; black, white, brown.yellow etc , shut up your rubbish lunatic mind. They are going to win this case since they bought the farms. Majaira kuita upfumi hwokupamba. Idiots.

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        Vana Dumbu nana Gavi matumbu akazara matuzvi munozivei vanhu vakakura varinhapwa? The lot of you are just but idiots and fools who were taught to think and act on behalf of the white man. You do not have the free will but act and think for your slave and colonial masters.

        • Gwaya says:

          MR Chimbwido Gay Hure please answer me this question in light of what you have said above is your Zanu pf darling and blue eyed bhoyi Mr Billy Rautenbach is he a Zimbabwean or is he a “coloniser hell bent on returning the rhodesians to power” Please tell us all about ur zanu pf darling whiteman Billy Rautenbach

        • Martin says:

          How can you talk about “colonial masters” and still blame them for everything when Zimbabwe became independent 33 years ago? You’ve had no masters but ZANUPF for three decades. Look to your own house first.

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            Of course, if you talk of 33 years of meddling in the domestic affairs of my country by well known culprits, I will be inclined to agree with you. Slapping the country with sanctions by a former colonial power, a country that should have come to the aid of Zimbabwe when one considers the plundering of our natural resources and cheap labour during colonialism by the United Kingdom. Which country can do any better with this punishment? And being punished for what?
            The country has not really enjoyed relative peace but divided along tribal and racial lines to satisfy the economic and business interests of foreigners. And foolishly and ignorantly most Zimbabweans have played in the hands of their detractors. That has been the saddest chapter of our history.

    • Martin says:

      Poor you! Note: You did admit the farms were “stolen”. How can stolen property be in the hands of “rightful owners”. If I come and steal your car does that make me the “rightful owner”, In your eyes, probably.

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        You can not put your words in my mouth. I said our land was stolen by foreigners over one hundred years ago and that the farms have now been in the hands of their rightful owners, the black farmers of this Zimbabwe. This is a fact which no one, not even the African Union can reverse. It is what I would describe as the endgame, boy.

        • super mondo says:

          stop farting chimpus racist.take your valium and burp your crap on the heralds anti democratic site.

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            Remember at all times your newly found name is Mr Bafoon, a man with a small mind. And being so foolish and stupid, you bring the question of racism being practised by the Warvet, a black man. It clearly shows what an empt and irrational head you have, Mr Bafoon. Racism is a complex term which can not be defined in simplistic terms and never in the history of mankind have the black people anywhere in the world practised racism but the white people who have enslaved people they considered were inferior to them. If you know your history well, you know this is true. Never talk about racism because it seems to me you do not know what it means. Once again do not think you are a sophisticated man when you are just Mr Bafoon.

  2. super mondo says:

    anything to do with land braindamage starts farting.

  3. GBZ says:

    I am sorry guys, but I just cannot understand how any of us can lower ourselves to talk or waste our time trying to to talk any sense to this znupf moron “chimp idiotvet”. Surely we can discuss our intellegent views together and totally ignore this puke, because it is quite clear he is not interested in intellegent discussion and has no idea how to reason and all the threads on this page are awaste of typing time and really not worth reading, and you can predict what the monkey is going to say about any subject…totally irrational and udisputidly stupid.

    • Chimbwido Warvet says:

      I hope you will influence them to leave me alone to inform the world in ways that I want without any interference from anyone. I have always yearned for the day when people leave me alone but what I write is irresistible, boy. I provoke and promote critical thinking and analysis. Even our newly found political commentator, Wilbert Mukori, will not agree with you. I am sure he can even kick your smelly asshole because he believes in the plurality and divergence of views and opinions. Of course, Tererai Karimakwenda and Alex Bell who have often deleted many of my articles I have compiled to educate and inform the readership will take a cue from you. But do I care really? I do not give a f…….g shit boy.

  4. infairness says:

    True there were allegations in previous elections, not as Freeth says confirmed.
    There were stories of violence by the opposition, people were killed on a farm nest to the Harare South Golf Club including babies as per the front page of the Herald.
    There were pro opposition postersall around the club and no complaint from opposition human rights groups or Mr Feeth.
    When you dig into these events you are told they were in retalliation, therefore ok.

    • super mondo says:

      there will be minor retribution by angered families ,that does not justify brutality by zanu and its cohorts over the many crimes against the people.

      • infairness says:

        super, minor retribution is not killing whole families, guoging their eyes out and filling mouths,eyes with sadza.
        Ask yoursectionelf, what did babies do? Where are all these opposition led human rights organisations, or do they believe like you that this was ‘minor retribution’.
        Where are the civilised human beings who push for an arrest and prosecution.
        Thankyou for illustrating and proving to all right thinking people how you think

    • Chimbwido Warvet says:

      What a mother fucker bent at misinforming the world. The good thing is that the guy can’t write good English language. He could be dangerous if he could write well.

      • infairness says:

        Critisism of accidental spelling errors is unreal coming from a person who cant think of any words other than bad language. My comments are only dangerous to those involved.

  5. infairness says:

    legal situation is quite simple, on this issue the court they go to has no jurisdiction.

    As per all internataional legal agreements – international law is the law of the country where the land is situated.

    In Angola the Portuguese sued the Portuguese government and failed because they didnt take the case in Angola first. The tried the EU, on the base that the couts had collapsed in Angola, the Euro Ombudsman said that route is correct save that Portugal wasnt ax member at the time.
    In this situation any journalist with the faint ability to research will realise even if they win they lose and they need a lawyer able to do the same.
    In Zimbabwes case, at the moment if they went to court Britain would have to pay, our constitution and the GNU agreement agree so any local court could not rule against this. Britain formed a fund in 2000 for white farmers in their [Parliament, and in terms of the Brussels convention for enforcement of judgements all foreign judgements may be enforced without further arguement..
    Britain funds a New Comnstitution, the CFU conditional that they employed a full time lawyer to remove Britains liability from the constitution – look its disapeared in the draft????
    Due to sanctions and CFU assistance not one claim has been made from the Fund. – white farmers who wanted to try are warned they will be blacklisted by CFU for compwensatrion if they fail.
    If there are any journalists out there check these facts out, and do some investigative reporting, put some effort in – dont say i went to this universuty so i know,. show you are able to report.

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