IS ZIMBABWE UNDER SANCTIONS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS?
Updated: Feb 23
The U.N. Human Rights Council and ICJ [International Court Of Justice] are the only multi-lateral bodies authorized and equipped to impartially investigate human rights violations, make rulings and give recommendations on action to be taken against infringing nations through the U.N. General Assembly or Security Council.
Claims against individuals and senior government officials of nations that are not signatory to the Rome Statute [ICC], can not be brought to the ICJ but they must be administered in the sovereign states or reported to the Human Rights Commission who can then pass a resolution for the establishment of adhoc criminal tribunals against such individuals.
Human Rights violations can also be brought to the General Assembly and Security Council by the Human Rights Commission for a vote which can resolve that sanctions be imposed on a nation.
Any punitive action upon a nation or decision to try individuals through criminal tribunal can only be instituted after the Human Rights Council has looked at all facts, investigated, made a resolution that is voted for and passed by the General Assembly or Security Council.
In the case of the ICJ, allegations of Human Rights violations must be made by a nation state against another state, the case will be tried by 15 judges and the indicted nation given the opportunity to defend itself. If found guilty, the court will determine the remedy.
In the event that the U.N. General Assembly votes for sanctions or punitive measures on a nation. The Human Rights Council is mandated to assess and weigh the impact punitive measures or sanctions will have on the human rights of citizens in the infringing nation before imposing the penalty.
Throughout the punitive measures or sanctions regime, a Human Impact Assessment will be carried out periodically by the HRC and the UN obliged to remedy any negative effects their sanctions have on civilians enjoying their human rights.
In the case of Zimbabwe, none of these bodies have ever made any adverse ruling against the nation, it’s government or any of its senior officials for any of the purported atrocities punted by the west. In fact, no charges have ever been brought against the government of Zimbabwe for any of the human rights violations alleged to have been perpetrated by the government, hence neither body has recommended U.N. sanctions upon the country or its leadership.
However, the bodies have ruled against Israel for crimes against humanity in Palestine and violating U.N. resolutions on territorial occupation, while the ICJ has made numerous rulings against the US government with the last in October 2018, when the court ruled that US unilateral sanctions on Iran violated Iranian civilian rights.
The Human Rights Council has also passed several resolutions declaring unilateral sanctions used by the US upon countries like Iran, Venezuela, Russia, Somalia, Zimbabwe and Qatar illegal and a violation of human rights.
On a number of occasions the Security Council has proposed imposing sanctions on Israel for breaking international law, only for the US to veto the measures to show their disregard for international law or human rights.
This therefore means that any sanctions upon Zimbabwe for alleged human rights violations, determined unilaterally by the US and her western allies without due process are null, void and illegal.
They are also illegal because they have not been effected through the U.N. dispute resolution procedures, resolutions of the Human Rights Council or voted for by the body of nations through the General Assembly or Security Council.
It’s critical that Zimbabweans appreciate that US and EU sanctions on the country and individuals have been imposed based on allegations of human rights violations that have not been tested in any criminal tribunal where the sanctioned accused were afforded opportunities to defend themselves as the international bill of human rights mandates.
This is why the multi-lateral process laid out by the U.N. for dispute resolution is critical because where unilateralism is left in the hands of the same Berlin Conference states which instituted the crime against humanity of colonialism and slavery. It opens the door for them to continue racist, discriminatory and exploitative practices that serve their interests at the expense of non-white nations as they did with slavery and colonialism.
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