The Public Interest Unit challenges impunity and holds the government accountable for its actions by litigating cases of organised violence and torture in the 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, analyzes trends of OVT and the judicial approach to such issues and other relevant fields of the law.