Thursday, September 03, 2009

Zim pulls out of SADC tribunal

from SWRadioAfrica

Zimbabwe has pulled out of the SADC Tribunal, claiming the regional court has not been properly constituted and that the country will no longer take part in, or respect, any decisions from the Tribunal. The withdrawal of Zimbabwe from the SADC jurisdiction is a major blow to 79 white commercial farmers who had won their cases in the regional court, blocking the government from acquiring their farms. The government now says any decisions that the Tribunal may have made, or may make in future about Zimbabwe are null and void....

Arnold Tsunga, the Africa Director of the International Commission of Jurists, believes it’s the reaction of one component of the government, namely ZANU PF, which has a culture of not wanting effective checks and balances. “It is not surprisingly that they reacted adversely to the SADC Tribunal as a judicial organ, because of the fact that it has been able to render independent, impartial, fearless and fair decisions in disputes that have been brought before it that involve Zimbabwe.”

The rights lawyer also said that in terms of the law it is not supportable for the government of Zimbabwe to adopt this position, saying: “This is because of the fact that the SADC tribunal is a creature of the SADC treaty and, I think, in terms of Section 16 of the SADC treaty, the establishment of a SADC tribunal is actually provided for within the main SADC treaty itself, to which Zimbabwe is still a party.”

According to Tsunga ‘there is no way that Zimbabwe can pull out of the SADC tribunal without pulling out of the SADC treaty which creates the SADC community of states.’

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