The court made a number of declarations of principle that must continue to operate even during the state of disaster caused by the lockdown and other steps taken by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19. It also issued several orders about what the security forces and their leaders, including the Ministers of Police and of Defence, must do in relation to the lockdown and the behaviour of the security forces during this time. Further, the court gave strict deadlines for complying with these orders.
The Malawi Human Rights Commission has released a report finding police responsible for the death, by torture, of a man unlawfully arrested on suspicion of being involved in the abduction and killing of a child with albinism. This is just the latest development in the horror of Malawi’s increasingly endangered albino people, murdered for their body parts to satisfy occult beliefs, and it follows just days after a high court judge passed the death sentence on the convicted killer of a man with albinism (see separate story).
Three former university professors have brought a claim in Kenya’s high court asking for restitution for human rights infringements. They seem to me part of a trend to end the culture of impunity in Kenya. The three had been detained and tortured under a previous government, and now, more than 30 years later, wanted recognition of what had happened, plus compensation for how their lives had been ruined by the unlawful action against them. The professors’ court challenge was not the first in Kenya in which compensation was demanded for human rights abuses under the previous regime and the courts now seem more comfortable about agreeing to hear matters arising from decades ago. Going from previous experience, however, I wonder how long the professors will have to wait for the damages, awarded by the courts, to be paid.
Security forces in Zimbabwe are continuing to use torture and deadly force against people protesting against government restrictions and fuel hikes that have made petrol in that country the highest-priced in the world. Alarming pictures of security forces beating protesters shown round the world forced President Emmerson Mnangagwa, on an international visit to drum up foreign investment, to return before his original date, and take control of the situation. But little has changed since he arrived home earlier this week, and the violent crackdown is continuing. In a rare move, the Law Society of Zimbabwe has met with the Chief Justice, Luke Malaba, to raise concerns about the way that judicial officers are handling cases relating to the crackdown. They told him it appeared the courts were biased and that justice was not being meted out.