The Public Interest Unit challenges impunity and holds the government accountable for its actions by litigating cases of organised violence and torture in domestic and international court. The Unit was created in order to undertake legal proceedings, in Zimbabwe and elsewhere, on behalf of victims of organised violence and torture, and in that regard:
- to give legal advice to such victims;
- to draft legal pleadings and other Court documents and to attend to the filing of such documents; and
- to attend to trials on behalf of such victims.
The unit currently has over 700 active cases that are before the Courts in Zimbabwe that is the Magistrates Court, High Court and Supreme Court. All these cases are alleging organised violence and torture by both directly by State Agents and non-state actors with the acquiesce of the state. The claims are mainly for compensation for the pain, loss and suffering. The Unit also engages with the international mechanisms for victims’ redress when such remedies have been exhausted and/or are not effective domestically. Three Communications has been brought before the African Commission and one Application has been filed before the SADC Tribunal.
The Public Interest Unit is also involved in advocacy work, including lobbying the Zimbabwean government to ratify and domestic the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT).
It also documents progress on the legal cases in its active database, and carries out legal research on Public Interest Litigation, analyze trends of OVT and the judicial approach to such issues and other relevant fields of the law.
- The Public Interest Unit brought the first communication to be concluded before the†African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights†(ACHPR) against the Zimbabwean government. Incidentally the first decision on Zimbabwe was in favour of the Forum in ACHPR Communication 245/02
- The Public Interest Unit has over 1 900 cases of organized violence and torture documented in its database and over 700 active cases.
- The Unit has recorded more than 60% success rate on all the cases that it has brought before the courts on behalf of victims. To access the judgement in the concluded files click here
- The Unit has also produced an analysis of all the legal cases that has been dealt with between 1998 and 2006. Work to update the Legal cases report is still underway.
(TO BE UPDATED REGULARLY)