Falanga is unequivocally a form of torture and constitutes a serious criminal assault under Zimbabwean law. This form of torture has become particularly prevalent in the past five years. Although falanga has been reported in previous decades, it now appears to be very widespread indeed, and almost routine, both inside and outside of places of detention. It is used by the police as well as non-state actors that are supporters of the government.
The police have a constitutional and professional duty to protect people against unlawful assaults and yet members of the police force are frequently perpetrating acts of torture as is documented in this report and has also been documented in previous reports of the Human Rights Forum. The evidence establishes that the practice of torture, including falanga, is not carried out by a few aberrant law enforcement officers but instead is widespread and systematic. It is evident that it is not only the ZRP that are guilty of falanga, but that it has become a widespread practice carried out by proxy forces of the Zimbabwe government, and mostly by supporters and members of ZANU PF.