17 May 2012

Elite crime fighters face action over alleged Zimbabwe renditions

South Africa's top crime busting unit has been threatened with international legal action by a Zimbabwean human rights group over an on-going probe into alleged rendition and killing of suspects.

Harare: in line of fire over rendition claims

According to African news portal AllAfrica, several senior officials in the Hawks criminal unit of the South African police were last year accused of conducting ‘renditions’ in partnership with the Zimbabwean authorities. This allegedly led to several Zimbabwean 'suspects' being arrested in South Africa and then sent across the border illegally, and killed.


South Africa's police minister, Nathi Mthethwa, has attempted to reassure human rights organisations by announcing that a preliminary investigation into the allegations is almost completed. But according to the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum this is the first time any form of a probe has been mentioned.

Forum director Gabriel Shumba has threatened to refer Hawks members to the International Criminal Court if they are not brought to justice. Mr Shumba said: ‘These renditions are crimes against humanity that include brutal assaults on people. Yet nothing has been done to prevent this from continuing.’


Mr Shumba also highlighted the noticeable increase in reports of intimidation of Zimbabwean nationals in South Africa, commenting: ‘We have people trying to get to the US or Canada or somewhere they might be safe. They don't feel safe here [in South Africa] because so many South African police are working with Zimbabwean police.’

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