The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: AG Dismisses ACHPR Land Judgment

Attorney-General Johannes Tomana yesterday said a recent judgment by the African Commission on Human and People's Rights to hear the case of a former commercial farmer seeking to reverse the land reform programme was insignificant. The ruling was made at a session of the ACHPR held in Cote d'Ivoire last month but was made public on Tuesday in favour of Ben Freeth and his co-plaintiff Luke Tembani.

Mr Tomana said he was yet to be notified of the case that he said had no bearing on land tenure in Zimbabwe.

"I have not heard of that ruling, but it would not surprise me because it (ACHPR) is a forum that anyone can go to and complain," he said.

"It would be up to the commission to approach all the parties involved in the matter and our course of action will be determined by what they will say.

"However, if they want to challenge the land reform programme, that case has been dealt with by Sadc and I do not see how any other tribunal will deal with the matter."

Mr Freeth and the late Mike Campbell approached the now defunct Sadc Tribunal seeking to reverse the land reform programme.

They won their case before Zimbabwe appealed against the ruling arguing that the tribunal was improperly constituted.

The Government also argued that the tribunal could not override domestic courts of sovereign countries, leading to the suspension of its operations and eventual disbandment last year.

The Sadc heads of state and government have since tasked ministers of justice and attorneys-general in the region to reconstitute the tribunal and come up with new mandates.

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