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Zimbabwe AG Tomana Steps Up Legal Challenge to Western Sanctions

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Zimbabwean Attorney General Johannes Tomana said sanctions violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provision holding that no one should be arbitrarily deprived of his or her property

Zimbabwe Attorney General Johannes Tomana is ramping up his bid to legally challenge sanctions put in place by Europe, the United States and others in response to alleged human rights violations and election rigging over the past decade, arguing that the imposition of such targeted sanctions violates international human rights law.

Tomana notified the European Union last week of Harare’s intention to file suit in the European Court of Justice if the bloc failed to justify its sanctions targeting President Robert Mugabe and many of his ZANU-PF colleagues and related companies.

The government's chief attorney told the state-controlled Herald paper in an interview published Thursday that sanctions violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provision holding that no one should be arbitrarily deprived of his or her property.

In addition to travel restrictions, sanctions allow the freezing of financial assets.

Tomana called on individuals and entities affected by the U.S. measures to seek legal recourse in the country's courts, adding that he was available for legal advice.

Washington and the Europe have demanded political and democratic reforms before they will consider lifting the sanctions now in place for the better part of a decade.

The European Union's top diplomat for Africa on Tuesday in a meeting with President Mugabe urged the unity government in Harare to fully implement the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing as a key step to removing sanctions.

Attorney General Tomana told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that it is high time Zimbabweans more forcefully confront the countries imposing such sanctions.

"Take for example ZEDERA [the US Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act]," Tomana said. "It is a law that can be challenged in the US courts."

But political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition disagreed, saying the chances of Tomana succeeding in such a suit were remote at best.

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