Zimbabwe

Judge claims CJ instructs how cases must be decided

The crisis in Zimbabwe heightened this week, with a spotlight now pointed at internal problems within the judiciary. First, a judge who was suspended on contested grounds has launched an urgent application to prevent a disciplinary tribunal from being set up to investigate her. In the course of her founding affidavit she made some grave allegations against the Chief Justice, for example, saying that he routinely intervened to ensure judges decided matters in a certain way.

Seldom has the judiciary of any country in this region been in the kind of mess now seen in Zimbabwe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa had no sooner announced that he had removed Judge Francis Bere from his position on the bench for unethical conduct, than a second bombshell exploded.

High Court grants bail to Zimbabwe opposition leader, journalist

Two prisoners in one of Zimbabwe’s most notorious jails have been making international headlines as the courts repeatedly denied them bail. This week, however, as South Africa prepared to send a delegation to discuss the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, and as the number of international political and legal statements critical of the continued imprisonment continued to grow, the two men were released on the orders of the high court.

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After more than a month in jail, two of Zimbabwe’s most high-profile prisoners were released on bail this week. Both had been refused bail by the same magistrate, and both were finally released on bail on the orders of two different judges on grounds that were remarkably similar.

Shock judgment bars Zimbabwe human rights lawyer from crucial human rights case

The legal world was stunned this week by the news that Harare magistrate, N Nduna, had ruled that a lawyer appearing in a case before him was ‘disqualified’ from continuing to act in the matter. Whatever the case, this would have caused concern because of the drastic nature of the step. But this is not just any case. The accused person is an award-winning investigative journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono, who had been researching government corruption questions before his arrest. And his lead counsel is internationally-acclaimed human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa.

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Any reader of this story is sure to head over to Facebook to check an essential element of the case. In the search block you should type in ‘Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law’. You’ll find that the page is actually called, ‘Lorie Conway’s Page about the film Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law’.

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