POLITICAL CRIMINALS TO BE PROSECUTED | With the 2018 harmonised elections looming on the horizon, a new legal platform, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Electoral Justice (ZLEJ), has emerged to push for private prosecution of perpetrators of election-related political violence.
ZLEJ board chairman, Chawaona Kanoti said the organisation, registered as a trust on August 25, is aimed at bringing justice to victims of political violence, who would have been closed out by the Prosecutor-General’s Office.
“Our trust is a civil society team desirous to champion, monitor, advocate for and act to ensure successful and effective criminal and/or civil liability of any person(s), who are, or have been, involved in criminal electoral malpractices at whatever level of lawful electoral
contestations, and in that endeavour work to ensure appropriate rehabilitation and/or compensation of victims of such practice,” he said.
Kanoti said the organisation would be looking at all cases dating back as far as 1999 when electoral violence became prevalent in Zimbabwe.
“We shall, therefore, for now be concentrating mostly on such deserving, but unprosecuted political violence cases stretching possibly from as long ago as 1999.”
ZLEJ will be concentrating on private prosecution on matters that the Prosecutor-General would have declined to prosecute.
“ZLEJ is merely a dedicated civil team that will, for a start only, pick up for private prosecutions mostly political violence electoral malpractice cases which the police and/or the Prosecutor-General would have selected not to prosecute or, better, are not seeming to be selecting for prosecution in circumstances, of course, wherein the victims prefer or, put
better still, in circumstances the victims with fuller knowledge and understanding of their rights and with the relevant capacities, would have preferred prosecuted,” Kanoti said.
“The philosophy that shall guide us in this our dedicated endeavour is hunhu/ubuntu. We shall be seeking restorative, and not retributive, justice for both victims and perpetrators. We seek for both parties recovery into society.”
He said their long-term objective was to promote peaceful election campaigns.