Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal/Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad

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A general legislative analysis of "torture" as a human rights violation in Zimbabwe

Howard Chitimira, Pontsho Mokone


Several challenges involving torture-related human rights violations have been reported in Zimbabwe from the late 1970s to date. Notably, these torture-related human rights violations were problematic during the liberation war era in Zimbabwe. Regrettably, such violations are allegedly still prevalent, especially prior to and/or during general political elections in Zimbabwe. Accordingly, this article investigates torture as a human rights violation in Zimbabwe, inter alia by focusing on the role of selected law enforcement agencies in the protection of human rights in Zimbabwe. The article also discusses the legal position on torture and the perpetration of torture against ordinary people prior to as well as after independence in Zimbabwe. This is done to investigate the adequacy of the legal framework in Zimbabwe with regard to the combatting of torture. In relation to this, selected regional and international legal frameworks against torture are briefly discussed in order to determine possible measures that could be utilised in Zimbabwe. The authors submit that although the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 20) Act, 2013 (Zimbabwe Constitution, 2013) prohibits torture, more may still need to be done to enhance the combatting of torture in Zimbabwe. For instance, apart from the prohibition contained in the Zimbabwe Constitution, 2013, there is no legislation that expressly outlaws torture in Zimbabwe. Moreover, Zimbabwe has not ratified the United Nations (UN) Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1984 (UN Convention against Torture) to date. Lastly, concluding remarks and possible recommendations that could be employed to discourage torture-related human rights abuses in Zimbabwe are provided.

Keywords: Human rights; torture; protection; enforcement agencies; violations
AJOL African Journals Online