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Zimbabwe president opposes probe of alleged rights violations

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] called Friday on South African officials to oppose an investigation into allegations of human rights violations committed by members of his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party. Mugabe denied the allegations [AP report], suggesting they were racially motivated. In May, a South African court ordered an investigation [JURIST report] into the allegations. Judge Hans Fabricius held that South Africa is obligated under international law to conduct the investigation because it is a signatory of the 1998 Rome Statute [text, PDF] since 2002. Mugabe said the court did not have jurisdiction in Zimbabwe and warned that an investigation could harm South Africa's relationship with Zimbabwe.

This order derives from the legal action commenced [JURIST report] in March by various human rights groups urging South African courts to prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity. Zimbabwe has been criticized in the past for such violations including torture and forced labor of civilian workers in illegal mining camps [JURIST report].

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