|Chinamasa dismisses SA court ruling|
|Wednesday, 09 May 2012 00:00|
Sydney Kawadza Assistant News Editor
A recent South African court judgement that wants Pretoria to
investigate Zimbabwean officials for alleged human rights abuses brings the SA justice system into disrepute, a Cabinet minister has said.
Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday described the ruling as irrelevant saying it was a general judgement without specifics.
Human Rights lawyer Nicole Fritz of the South African Litigation Centre joined the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum to bring the lawsuit.
Ms Pillay is expected in Zimbabwe later this month.
“These people are working in cahoots with the ex-Rhodies who brought a case against Government on the land issue,” said Minister Chinamasa.
Minister Chinamasa said Zimbabwe’s leadership had done nothing to bring it under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Courts.
“That the court made a ruling based on a generalised opinion is a sad moment for the justice system in South Africa.”
“We were appalled by the arrest and prosecution of African leaders and felt that we cannot belong to a politicised criminal justice system,” said Minister Chinamasa.
Minister Chinamasa said South Africa had no jurisdiction to arrest and try Zimbabweans for alleged crimes from within.
Minister Chinamasa said Zimbabwe last extended an invitation to Commissioner Pillay to visit in February this year but she could not make it because of other commitments.
“We had warned her in advance that news of her coming to Zimbabwe would trigger negative stories to colour her appreciation of the situation in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We have since seen cases of well orchestrated and fabricated stories to throw Zimbabwe into the public eye showing that our human rights record is bad.
“This is not acceptable in any country including in the West which is clamouring for the observation of human rights in Zimbabwe,” he said.
But South African prosecutors indicated that such investigations would be beyond their mandate.