Stand up for Justice in Zimbabwe

  • by: Justice Zimbabwe
  • target: Secretary of State William Hague, Baroness Ashton of Upholland
In 2000, the world looked on in horror as the Zimbabwe state and thugs acting for President Mugabe destroyed property, attacked farm employees and in some cases, tortured and murdered Zimbabwe's own farmers.

In response to this, the UK Government led efforts to implement EU wide sanctions against the ruling elite of Zimbabwe.

In April 2009, A group of ex Zimbabwean farmers, got together and won a landmark court case against the Government of Zimbabwe.

Despite Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Government refusing to pay these farmers, the UK Government will soon ease sanctions against Mugabe's henchmen, allowing them to visit London and UK aid money to flow directly into Mugabe's Government coffers.

Lifting sanctions must not happen until the Zimbabwe Government respects international law and pays this court ruling. Sign the petition today to urge William Hague and Baroness Ashton to keep Mugabe's thugs out of the UK and the proceeds of their crimes frozen.
Between 2000 and 2002, Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Government began brutal land reform in Zimbabwe.

The world looked on in horror as the Zimbabwe state and thugs acting for President Mugabe destroyed property, attacked farm employees and in some cases, tortured and murdered their own Zimbabwean farmers.

British ambassador to Zimbabwe, Deborah Bronnert recently confirmed that partially in response to this brutal land reform, the UK Government led efforts to implement EU wide 'targeted' restrictive measures (sanctions) against the ruling elite of Zimbabwe.

However, for the farmers affected by the land reform program, sanctions were plainly not enough and justice has been sought via the international legal courts. A specific case has recently been brought to my attention that I am requesting your support in resolving.

There is an International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) award to Dutch and UK individual investors 'Funnekotter & others' owed by the Republic of Zimbabwe and which has been outstanding since 2009. There have been many efforts by the Dutch and UK investors to obtain payment coupled with promises made over the years by Minister of Finance Tendai Biti to pay, most recently at the World Bank IMF spring meetings earlier in the year.

The arbitral award was made in 'Funnekotter & others' favour by ICISD on 22nd April 2009. The tribunal decided that the Republic of Zimbabwe was liable to compensate 'Funnekotter & others' for unlawful expropriation of farming land and property carried out in 2001 and 2002. Under the award the approximate sum, currently stands at EUR 23.5 million, including interest and costs.

It should be emphasized that the ICSID process is voluntarily accepted by both creditor and debtor. Despite the award remaining outstanding - in blatant breach of international law - the Zimbabwe elite are to be rewarded with the lifting of EU sanctions, according to recent press reports.

Successive UK and EU Foreign Ministers stated the sanctions do not hurt the Zimbabwean economy or the poor in the country; rather sanctions restrict the activities of the unaccountable elite in Zimbabwe.

In light of the understanding that sanctions do not hurt the wider Zimbabwean economy I urge you not to support the further lifting of sanctions against the elite in Zimbabwe and additional entities on the UK Asset Freeze list, such as the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).

Instead you should focus your efforts on ensuring Zimbabwe respects the rule of law and abides by international law and obligations as a corner stone for democracy, sound governance, inward investment and economic growth.

Furthermore, lifting of sanction will allow the resumption of many millions of pounds in UK taxpayer monies to flow in direct aid payments to the Zimbabwe Government. It may become very tempting for Zimbabwe to ignore the relatively small legal ICSID claim when the World Bank, USA, EU and UK Governments have multibillion-dollar aid and investment operations in Zimbabwe, with ambitions to expand them exponentially.

Despite these farmers using peaceful and legal avenues to win justice, the international community and EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Ashton are abandoning them.

Sanctions were imposed on the Zimbabwe elite partly in response to the barbaric land reform. The UK Government and EU are planning to lift sanctions on the same elite without ensuring the Government of Zimbabwe honours international court rulings against them.

Lifting EU restrictive measures against the Zimbabwean elite that orchestrated the land reform without ensuring that outstanding legal settlement are paid would be a body blow to Zimbabwe's former farmers seeking justice. Furthermore it would turn away many international investors and job creators who would see Zimbabwe continuing as a pariah state, unwilling to respect international law and arbitration.

I urge you to stand up for justice, British investors and the African people they ultimately benefit and block the lifting of sanctions until this claim and others like it are settled.

Yours Sincerely,
[Your name here]
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