South African judges are being urged to set a regional precedent by upholding the rulings of the regional human rights court, as they deliberate on an appeal by the Zim government over the unlawful land grab campaign.
The South African Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday heard an appeal by the Zim government against a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in 2010, which recognised and upheld the jurisdiction of the regional human rights Tribunal.
The case stemmed from the Tribunal's 2008 ruling that the land grab in Zimbabwe was unlawful, which the Zim government has ignored.
This forced Zimbabwean commercial farmers and South African citizens Louis Fick, Mike Campbell and Richard Etheredge to seek legal recourse in South Africa, because Zimbabwe had refused to compensate them for the loss of their land. The South African High Court in 2010 ruled in favour of the farmers, enforcing the Tribunal ruling and recognising the court's jurisdiction. The Court also ruled that a Cape Town property owned by the Zim government should be 'attached' for auction, to cover the government's debt to the farmers.
But this decision was then appealed by the legal team representing the Zim government and that appeal was heard on Monday.
Ben Freeth, who is the late Campbell's son-in-law, was in court on Monday and he told SW Radio Africa that he is "confident that justice will be served."
"The judges will make a decision soon and I am very confident of what their decision will be. They are setting a very important precedent here," Freeth said.
The Tribunal was suspended almost two years ago over the land ruling and SADC leaders are now set to reform the court, but with limited human rights powers.
Freeth explained that the suspension "doesn't effect the full and binding judgement we got in 2008."
"I still believe that one day we will see justice. The judges today (Monday) will be setting a very important precedent by upholding the Tribunal ruling," Freeth said.