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Zimbabwe AG Gives Europe Two Weeks to Explain Itself on Sanctions

The European Union and other Western nations imposed sanctions on the ZANU-PF leadership in 2002 citing human rights abuses and vote rigging, and have regularly renewed the travel and financial restrictions

The Zimbabwean government has written to the European Union giving it two weeks to explain why it has imposed what it calls “illegal sanctions,” failing which it said it will take its case against such sanctions, in place for years, to the European Court of Justice.

Attorney General Johannes Tomana said he communicated Zimbabwe’s intentions to Greece, now in the presidency of the EU Council, in a September 1 legal notice.

The European Union and its allies in the West imposed sanctions on the ZANU-PF leadership in 2002 citing rights abuses, vote rigging and related issues.

Over the years these countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have regularly renewed these so-called targeted measures.

The European Union renewed its sanctions on some 200 top ZANU-PF officials including President Mugabe in February, while removing a number of names from the list.

"Unless I hear from you in the next 14 days, I shall be taking steps as may be necessary and appropriate to protect the rights and interests of Zimbabwe and all the natural and legal persons and entities, subject to the restrictive measures in terms of your aforesaid decision," Tomana informed the European Union in his communication.

Tomana told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that it is hoped the European Court of Justice will give Zimbabwe a fair hearing.

But University of Zimbabwe law professor Lovemore Madhuku said European officials will probably offer much the same explanation they have given on previous occasions - that Harare needs to implement key reforms for the sanctions to be lifted.