Chinamasa listed as a human rights abuser


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Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was listed as one of the senior Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leaders who could face prosecution for political violence.

An unnamed senior official in the attorney-general’s office was quoted as saying that the attorney-general had received thousands of police files on political violence investigations dating back to 2000 with instructions from unnamed higher-ups to pursue prosecutions.

Chinamasa was named as one of the putative defendants in the files.

A United States embassy official felt that this could be a further manifestation of the brewing succession struggle within ZANU-PF.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE665, ZLHR ON INTRA-AU FRICTION OVER HUMAN RIGHTS;

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

06HARARE665

2006-06-05 17:11

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8133

PP RUEHMR

DE RUEHSB #0665/01 1561711

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 051711Z JUN 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0162

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1222

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1058

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1228

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0486

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0852

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1279

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3651

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1051

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1690

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1437

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK//DOOC/ECMO/CC/DAO/DOB/DOI//

RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000665

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

AFR/SA FOR E. LOKEN

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2011

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZLHR ON INTRA-AU FRICTION OVER HUMAN RIGHTS;

POSSIBLE GOZ PROSECUTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

 

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Eric T. Schultz under Section 1

.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

representatives on May 31 advised the CDA on efforts by the

Council of Ministers of the African Union, at GOZ

instigation, to thwart the African Commission on Human and

People’s Rights (ACHPR) through procedural improprieties and

budget manipulations. According to the lawyers, they were

developing contacts in Addis Ababa and along with the ACHPR

were mobilizing civil society pressure on the AU to rein in

the Council. On the local front, the lawyers claimed to have

inside knowledge that a senior GOZ prosecutor was preparing

to prosecute potentially thousands of cases of

ZANU-PF-engineered political violence dating back to 2000.

End summary.

 

——————————————–

AU Council of Ministers/Secretariat v. ACHPR

——————————————–

 

2. (C) Recently returned from Banjul, Gambia, ZLHR senior

attorney Jacob Mafume said ACHPR officials who are

headquartered there complained of systematic efforts by the

AU’s Council of Ministers to neutralize the ACHPR’s work.

The Council had refused to put the ACHPR’s Zimbabwe

resolution on the Heads of State agenda and instead had

improperly referred it back to the ACPHR without legal basis

in a clear effort to delay its consideration. ACHPR

officials had said they referred it back to the Council,

insisting it be placed on the agenda of the Banjul Summit in

June.

 

3. (C) Mafume related that the AU Secretariat under the

Council was also using budget and personnel issues to hem in

the ACHPR’s independence. Responding to GOZ complaints of

ACHPR conflict of interest in accepting international donor

funding, the Secretariat had cut off such funding. Although

South Africa had agreed to take up the funding, it had yet to

do so. Moreover, claiming ACHPR staff incompetence, the

Secretariat was undertaking to fire existing staff and

 

SIPDIS

replace them with more malleable employees on short-term

contracts.

 

4. (C) According to Mafume, the ACHPR had complained

bitterly about inaction among civil society in the face of

these affronts. It was seeking to mobilize interested NGOs

throughout the continent to lobby member governments about

the Council’s misbehavior toward the ACHPR. Mafume said ZLHR

had promised to help; he expected the civics to be active at

the Banjul Summit and noted a petition on the issue was being

circulated among relevant NGOs. He expected organized

resistance from states that had been criticized by the ACHPR,

including Djibouti, Uganda, DRC, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe.

 

5. (C) On the CDA’s inquiry, Mafume advised that the ACHPR

continued to entertain 13 pending cases against Zimbabwe (not

counting the resolution on Operation Restore Order and an

earlier fact-finding report), five of which had been already

been deemed subject to Commission jurisdiction. He noted

that some cases could be amenable to the potential

jurisdiction of the nascent African Court. Mafume said ZLHR

was generally satisfied with the jurists who had been

selected for the Courtbut noted that it still lacked funding

 

HARARE 00000665 002 OF 003

 

 

or a venue.

 

——————–

Cultivating AU Staff

——————–

 

6. (C) Just back from Addis Ababa, New York and Washington,

ZLHR Executive Director Arnold Tsunga and senior attorney

Otto Saki (who received a major human rights award in New

York) informed the CDA about ZLHR efforts to establish a

platform of engagement with AU staff on Zimbabwe human rights

issues. They said they had found officials from three

relevant AU organs to be helpful and potentially useful —

the Commission for Political Affairs, Commission for Peace

and Security, and Commission for Social Affairs.

 

7. (C) Elaborating on personnel, Tsunga and Saki remarked

that Commissioner Advocate Bience Gawanas from the Commission

for Social Affairs, a Namibian, had expressed particular

interest in getting more involved on Zimbabwe issues. She

advised them to frame their issues with a more indivisible

humanitarian element that would secure her office’s

involvement. The CDA encouraged ZLHR’s continued cultivation

of potential allies in the organization.

 

8. (C) Tsunga and Saki noted that an office director in the

Commission for Political Affairs, Patrick Tigere, was known

to be associated with the Zimbabwean intelligence

organization. He had nonetheless been cordial to them during

a long meeting and furnished them with substantial useful

information that they corroborated in subsequent meetings.

That said, they noted he was a knowledgeable and persuasive

technocrat who they suspected had been influencing others in

the AU secretariat toward positions favorable to the GOZ,

including the efforts to rein in the ACHPR.

 

———————————————

GOZ to Prosecute ZANU-PF Human Rights Abuses?

———————————————

 

9. (C) Tsunga and Saki reported that a senior official in

the Attorney General’s Office had told them earlier in the

week that “things were changing” in the AG’s Office. He said

the AG had recently received thousands of police files on

political violence investigations dating back to 2000 with

instructions from unnamed higher-ups to pursue prosecutions.

The prosecutor noted that current Minister for Justice,

Parliamentary and Legal Affairs Patrick Chinamasa was among

the putative defendants in the files. Tsunga agreed with the

CDA,s observation that this could be a further manifestation

of the brewing succession struggle within ZANU-PF.

 

10. (C) In a possibly related development, the state

announced earlier this week that it had imposed the death

sentence on the murderer of a white farmer. However, Tsunga

expressed skepticism about the announcement, noting that

another individual sentenced to death with great fanfare for

the publicized murders of two tourists in the 1980s was

quietly released two years later. Tsunga said the latest

convict could be expected to appeal on the grounds that he

was a soldier in “the Third Chimurenga” (the government’s

casting of land reform as a revolution), and could ultimately

be pardoned by Mugabe after the court process had run its

course.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

HARARE 00000665 003 OF 003

 

 

 

11. (C) Africa’s past and future human rights victims have a

large stake in how the AU addresses the Council of Minister’s

efforts to undermine the ACHPR’s courageous work. We should

be looking for ways to help ACHPR fend off this attack. As

for a possible wave of prosecutions of human rights abuses in

Zimbabwe, Chinamasa’s inclusion suggests the Mujuru clique is

behind its commencement. However, the Mnanagagwa camp may

well seek to exploit the opportunity as well, which would be

the best of all possible outcomes.

SCHULTZ

 

(3 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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