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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01HARARE1055
2001-03-19 15:33:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION DELEGATION VISIT

Tags:   PHUM  PGOV  KJUS  PINR  ZI 
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191533Z Mar 01


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2019

PAGE 01        HARARE  01055  01 OF 03  191536Z 
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                  ------------------D41D8C  191538Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8459
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001055 

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL. 03/14/11
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KJUS PINR ZI
SUBJECT: INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION DELEGATION VISIT
BOLSTERS ZIMBABWEAN LEGAL COMMUNITY


CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 01055 01 OF 03 191536Z
CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL IRVING. REASONS: 1.5
(B) AND (D).

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) IN A WEEK-LONG VISIT TO ASSESS THE CURRENT STATE OF
ZIMBABWE'S JUDICIARY, AN INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION
DELEGATION MET WITH PRESIDENT MUGABE AND MEMBERS OF HIS
CABINET AS WELL AS PROMINENT MEMBERS OF THE LEGAL
COMMUNITY, INSIDE AND OUTSIDE GOVERNMENT. IN A FRANK
THREE-AND-A-HALF HOUR MEETING WITH PRESIDENT MUGABE,
DELEGATION MEMBERS EXPRESSED CONCERN ABOUT ESCALATING
CRITICISM OF THE JUDICIARY. THE PRESIDENT INSISTED THAT A
FEW INCIDENTS DID NOT MEAN THE RULE OF LAW HAD BEEN
ABANDONED AND REITERATED HIS VIEW THAT THE LAND ISSUE DID
NOT BELONG IN THE COURTS BECAUSE IT IS A POLITICAL ISSUE.
TENSIONS WERE APPARENT AMONG JUDGES ON THE HIGH COURT, WHO
MADE IT CLEAR THEY RARELY MET TO EXCHANGE VIEWS. JUDGE
PRESIDENT (AND ACTING SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE) GODFREY
CHIDYAUSIKU STATED UNEQUIVOCALLY THAT HE WOULD NOT
RECOMMEND THE FORMING OF A SPECIAL TRIBUNAL TO INVESTIGATE
MISCONDUCT BY SUPREME COURT OR HIGH COURT JUDGES, AS NO
BASIS EXISTED FOR IT. THE U.S. MEMBER OF THE DELEGATION
DESCRIBED MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY
AFFAIRS PATRICK CHINAMASA AS A "LIAR OF EXTRAORDINARY
ABILITY" AND SAID HE AND INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY MINISTER
JONATHAN MOYO WERE BIRDS OF A FEATHER. THE DELEGATION
PLANS TO ISSUE A REPORT SOON, AND THE IBA INTENDS TO
PROVIDE FOLLOW-ON SUPPORT TO THE LAW SOCIETY OF ZIMBABWE.
THE IBA VISIT, WHICH RECEIVED EXTENSIVE COVERAGE IN THE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 01055 01 OF 03 191536Z
LOCAL MEDIA, PROVIDED A SIGNIFICANT BOON TO MEMBERS OF THE
JUDICIARY AND THE LEGAL COMMUNITY GENERALLY, WHICH HAD
GROWN WEARY AND DISHEARTENED UNDER THE GOVERNMENT'S
CONTINUING ATTACKS. END SUMMARY.

DELEGATION


--------------------------





2. (U) A DELEGATION REPRESENTING THE INTERNATIONAL BAR
ASSOCIATION (IBA) -- COMPRISING SEVEN DISTINGUISHED JUDGES
AND LAWYERS FROM INDIA, NAMIBIA, ST. LUCIA, SOUTH AFRICA,
THE UNITED KINGDOM, AND THE UNITED STATES -- VISITED
ZIMBABWE THE WEEK OF MARCH 12 TO REVIEW THE STATE OF THE
JUDICIARY, INCLUDING ALLEGATIONS OF THREATS AGAINST MEMBERS
OF THE BENCH. ON MARCH 19, THE AMERICAN MEMBER OF THE
DELEGATION -- U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE ANDRE DAVIS -- AND THE
IBA'S EXECUTIVE-DIRECTOR -- MARK ELLIS -- BRIEFED CHARGE,
POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF, AND USAID'S DEPUTY MISSION
DIRECTOR ON THE VISIT.



3. (C) ELLIS REPORTED THAT THE IBA HAD DECIDED TO SEND THE
TEAM, ON VERY SHORT NOTICE, AFTER IT BECAME CONCERNED ABOUT
ESCALATING THREATS AGAINST THE JUDICIARY. THE IBA
EXECUTIVE-DIRECTOR EMPHASIZED THAT THE DELEGATION CAME TO
ZIMBABWE DETERMINED TO ASSESS THE SITUATION OBJECTIVELY AND
TO LET ITS SUBSEQUENT REPORT SPEAK FOR ITSELF. DURING ITS
WEEK IN ZIMBABWE, THE SEVEN-MEMBER TEAM MET WITH MORE THAN
100 PEOPLE, INCLUDING SUPREME COURT AND HIGH COURT JUDGES,
THE LAW SOCIETY OF ZIMBABWE AND MANY OF ITS MOST PROMINENT
MEMBERS, INCLUDING IN BULAWAYO, AND SENIOR GOVERNMENT
OFFICIALS, INCLUDING PRESIDENT MUGABE, MINISTER FOR
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 01055 01 OF 03 191536Z
JUSTICE, LEGAL, AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS PATRICK
CHINAMASA, MINISTER FOR INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY JONATHAN
MOYO, AND ATTORNEY-GENERAL ANDREW CHIGOVERA. THE
DELEGATION WAS CONFIDENT IT HAD HEARD THOROUGHLY FROM ALL
SIDES AND THAT IT WAS LEAVING WITH A VERY GOOD SENSE OF THE
CURRENT STATE OF THE JUDICIARY IN ZIMBABWE.

MEETING WITH PRESIDENT MUGABE


--------------------------





4. (C) ACCORDING TO ELLIS, THE DELEGATION HAD A VERY FRANK
EXCHANGE OF VIEWS IN A THREE-AND-A-HALF HOUR MEETING WITH
PRESIDENT MUGABE ON MARCH 16. ALTHOUGH THERE CLEARLY WERE
DISAGREEMENTS, BOTH SIDES FREELY EXCHANGED THEIR VIEWS AND
MUGABE DID NOT SEEM TO MIND WHEN HE WAS REPEATEDLY
INTERRUPTED BY MEMBERS OF THE DELEGATION. THE DELEGATION
PARTICIPANTS EXPRESSED THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT ESCALATING
ATTACKS -- BOTH RHETORICAL AND PHYSICAL -- ON MEMBERS OF
THE JUDICIARY. MUGABE, ELLIS SAID, ARGUED THAT A FEW
SPECIFIC INCIDENTS SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED AS EVIDENCE
THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE DOES NOT OBSERVE THE RULE
OF LAW. THE PRESIDENT ALSO REITERATED THE GOVERNMENT'S
VIEW THAT LAND IS A POLITICAL, NOT A LEGAL ISSUE, AND BY
IMPLICATION THAT IT IS INAPPROPRIATE FOR THE COURTS TO
WEIGH IN ON THE FAST TRACK RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM.

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ2018

PAGE 01 HARARE 01055 02 OF 03 191537Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DINT-00
DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 EUR-00 FAAE-00
FBIE-00 VC-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 L-00
VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00
PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00 IRM-00 STR-00
TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-01 DRL-02 G-00
NFAT-00 SAS-00 SWCI-00 /009W


--------------------------

D41D9C 191538Z /38
P 191533Z MAR 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8460
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 001055

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL. 03/14/11
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KJUS PINR ZI
SUBJECT: INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION DELEGATION VISIT
BOLSTERS ZIMBABWEAN LEGAL COMMUNITY

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 01055 02 OF 03 191537Z



5. (C) INTERESTINGLY, ELLIS REPORTED THAT THIS MEETING HAD
BEEN ARRANGED ONLY WITH THE LAST MINUTE INTERVENTION OF
SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI, WHO HAD BEEN URGED TO
WEIGH IN WITH MUGABE BY DELEGATION MEMBER GEORGE BIZOS.
MUGABE TOLD THE GROUP THAT HE HAD ONLY HEARD ABOUT THEIR
VISIT THE NIGHT BEFORE. (NOTE: THE IBA WROTE A LETTER TO
MINISTER CHINAMASA IN MID-FEBRUARY INFORMING HIM OF THE
INTENDED VISIT AND SEEKING A MEETING WITH HIM, AND
CHINAMASA ACCEPTED IN WRITING THE FOLLOWING DAY. END
NOTE.) THE PRESIDENT APPEARED VIGOROUS AND ALERT, AND
JOKINGLY DISMISSED RECENT RUMORS ABOUT HIS HEALTH.
ALTHOUGH ACCOMPANIED BY MINISTERS CHINAMASA AND MOYO,
MUGABE DID VIRTUALLY ALL OF THE TALKING ON THE GOVERNMENT
SIDE, WHICH, ACCORDING TO ELLIS, APPEARED TO MAKE THE TWO
MINISTERS VERY UNCOMFORTABLE.

HIGH COURT


--------------------------





6. (C) ONE OF THE TEAM'S MOST INTERESTING MEETINGS, ELLIS
RECOUNTED, HAD BEEN WITH THE JUDGES OF THE HIGH COURT,
INCLUDING JUDGE PRESIDENT (AND ACTING SUPREME COURT CHIEF
JUSTICE) GODFREY CHIDYAUSIKU. CHIDYAUSIKU SAID THE IBA WAS
WELCOME TO MEET WITH JUDGES SEPARATELY BUT IT WAS BIZOS,
AGAIN, WHO SAID NO, THANKS. THE INTERNAL TENSION IN THIS
GROUP WAS OBVIOUS, AND IT QUICKLY BECAME CLEAR THAT ITS
PRIMARY SOURCE WAS CHIDYAUSIKU HIMSELF. SEVERAL JUDGES
EXPRESSED THEIR APPRECIATION FOR THE MEETING, SAYING IT
PROVIDED A FORUM FOR THE HIGH COURT'S MEMBERS TO TALK TO
ONE ANOTHER. THE CLEAR IMPLICATION WAS THAT THESE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 01055 02 OF 03 191537Z
COLLEAGUES RARELY, IF EVER, GATHERED TO SHARE VIEWS.
CHIDYAUSIKU REPORTEDLY SINGLED OUT THE COURT'S WHITE JUDGES
FOR CRITICISM, SAYING THEY ACTED LIKE WHITE JUDGES, NOT
ZIMBABWEAN JUDGES, AND MADE NO ATTEMPTS TO INTEGRATE INTO
THE COMMUNITIES THEY SERVE. ACCORDING TO JUDGE DAVIS, ONE
DELEGATION MEMBER -- CHIEF JUSTICE SIR DENNIS BYRON FROM
THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN SUPREME COURT -- DELIVERED
IMPASSIONED AND ARTICULATE REMARKS ON THE SPECIAL ROLE OF
THE CHIEF JUSTICE IN MAINTAINING THE INTEGRITY AND
INDEPENDENCE OF THE COURT AND IN BEING AN ADVOCATE FOR THE
MEMBERS OF THE BENCH. JUDGE DAVIS COMMENTED THAT THE
REMARKS APPEARED TO HAVE HAD A POWERFUL IMPACT ON
CHIDYAUSIKU.



7. (C) THE ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE, ACCORDING TO JUDGE DAVIS,
WAS UNAMBIGUOUS IN STATING THAT HE WOULD NOT PERMIT THE
CONVENING OF A SPECIAL TRIBUNAL TO INVESTIGATE ANY MEMBERS
OF THE SUPREME COURT OR THE HIGH COURT, AS NONE OF THE
SITTING JUDGES HAD DONE ANYTHING TO WARRANT SUCH
DISCIPLINARY ACTION. ASKED WHETHER HE WAS WILLING TO MAKE
A PUBLIC STATEMENT TO THAT EFFECT, THE ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE
DEMURRED, BUT SAID HE WOULD INCLUDE THAT VOW IN INDIVIDUAL
LETTERS TO EACH OF THE SUPREME COURT AND HIGH COURT JUDGES,
AND SAID THE DELEGATION WAS WELCOME TO INCLUDE IT IN THEIR
FINAL REPORT. THE CHARGE COMMENTED THAT CHIDYAUSIKU'S
PROMISE SUGGESTED HE WAS AWARE THAT HIS REPUTATION AS A
ZANU-PF STOOGE HAD BEEN DAMAGING, AND PERHAPS HE WAS WAKING
UP TO THE NEED TO ESTABLISH HIS CREDIBILITY AS AN IMPARTIAL
JURIST.

CHINAMASA AND MOYO
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 01055 02 OF 03 191537Z


--------------------------



--------------------------





8. (C) THE IBA DELEGATION MET SEPARATELY WITH CHINAMASA
AND MOYO, TWO PEOPLE WHOM DAVIS SAID WERE CUT FROM THE SAME
CLOTH. DAVIS DESCRIBED CHINAMASA AS BRIGHT AND GRACIOUS,
BUT SAID HE WAS A "LIAR OF EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY" AND HAD
IN THE MEETING DELIVERED A "REMARKABLE PERFORMANCE FOR A
MINISTER OF JUSTICE." CHINAMASA'S INSISTENCE THAT COURT
ORDERS COULD BE IGNORED FOR POLITICAL REASONS WAS
PARTICULARLY DISTURBING, DAVIS ASSERTED. ELLIS EXPRESSED
HIS BELIEF THAT CHINAMASA IS MUCH MORE THAN A MERE
POLITICAL HACK. IT WAS ELLIS' VIEW, SHARED BY MANY OF THE
ZIMBABWEAN LAWYERS WITH WHOM HE HAD SPOKEN, THAT CHINAMASA
IS THE AUTHOR OF THE GOVERNMENT'S APPROACH ON THE
JUDICIARY.



9. (C) DAVIS DESCRIBED INFORMATION MINISTER JONATHAN MOYO
AS "GOEBBELS REINCARNATED," IN HIS APPROACH BOTH TO
PROPAGANDA AND TO GOVERNING. ELLIS COMMENTED THAT BOTH
CHINAMASA AND MOYO WERE WELL-RESPECTED IN THEIR PREVIOUS
LIVES, BUT SINCE ASSUMING THEIR CURRENT POSITIONS,
STRANGELY HAVE BECOME ZANU-PF ZEALOTS.

NEXT STEPS


--------------------------



CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ2022

PAGE 01 HARARE 01055 03 OF 03 191537Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DINT-00
DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 EUR-00 FAAE-00
FBIE-00 VC-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 L-00
VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00
PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00 IRM-00 STR-00
TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-01 DRL-02
G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /009W


--------------------------

D41D9E 191538Z /38
P 191533Z MAR 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8461
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 001055

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL. 03/14/11
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KJUS PINR ZI
SUBJECT: INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION DELEGATION VISIT
BOLSTERS ZIMBABWEAN LEGAL COMMUNITY

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 01055 03 OF 03 191537Z



10. (C) ELLIS STATED THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS ASKED FOR TWO
WEEKS TO SUBMIT WRITTEN DOCUMENTATION OF ITS VIEWS ON THE
JUDICIARY, AND THE IBA INTENDS TO ISSUE ITS REPORT SOON
AFTER THAT. ELLIS DECLINED TO ELABORATE ON THE LIKELY
SUBSTANCE OF THEIR REPORT, SAYING THAT HE HAD NOT YET HAD A
CHANCE TO DISCUSS THIS IN DETAIL WITH DELEGATION MEMBERS.
ONCE THE REPORT IS FINALIZED, IT WILL BE TRANSLATED INTO
SHONA AND NDEBELE AND DISSEMINATED WIDELY. THE IBA PLANS
TO HOLD THREE PRESS CONFERENCES TO ANNOUNCE RELEASE OF THE
REPORT -- IN LONDON, IN WASHINGTON, AND IN THE REGION,
PROBABLY IN JOHANNESBURG. IN ADDITION, ELLIS IS DETERMINED
TO PROVIDE FOLLOW-UP SUPPORT TO THE LAW SOCIETY OF ZIMBABWE
(LSZ), WHICH HE SAID CAN PLAY A CRUCIAL ROLE IN SUPPORTING
JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE. THE LSZ, HE SAID, HAD ALREADY
PROVEN TO BE AN IMPORTANT AND COURAGEOUS VOICE IN THE FACE
OF THE GOZ'S ATTACKS ON THE JUDICIARY. THEY WERE, HE SAID,
"EXCEEDINGLY IMPRESSED" WITH THE LSZ LEADERSHIP, MENTIONING
PRESIDENT STERNFORD MOYO BY NAME.

COMMENT


--------------------------





11. (C) THE IBA VISIT HAS PROVIDED A WELCOME BOOST TO THE
SPIRITS OF THOSE IN THE LEGAL COMMUNITY WHO HAVE BORNE THE
BRUNT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S OFFENSIVE AGAINST THE JUDICIARY.
AFTER MEETING WITH VIRTUALLY ALL THE KEY PLAYERS INSIDE AND
OUTSIDE GOVERNMENT, WE BELIEVE THE DELEGATION DEPARTED WITH
A VERY GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND THE
POLITICAL CONTEXT, AND WE WILL BE INTERESTED TO SEE THEIR
WRITTEN REPORT. THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED PRESS -- WHICH
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 01055 03 OF 03 191537Z
DEVOTED EXTENSIVE COVERAGE TO THE VISIT -- TRIED TO
MINIMIZE THE FALLOUT FROM WHAT THEY EXPECT TO BE A CRITICAL
REPORT, (ERRONEOUSLY) CHASTISING THE DELEGATION FOR
CONDUCTING A "STAGE-MANAGED," ONE-SIDED ASSESSMENT. WE
WERE PLEASED TO HEAR THAT THE IBA PLANS TO FOLLOW UP ITS
VISIT BY PROVIDING SUPPORT TO THE LSZ AND PERHAPS OTHER KEY
CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS. THE PROVISION OF SUCH
ASSISTANCE AND THE FOSTERING OF CLOSE CONNECTIONS TO
INFLUENTIAL INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ARE CRUCIAL STEPS
IN BOLSTERING NON-PARTISAN GROUPS SUCH AS THE LSZ IN THEIR
STRUGGLE TO PROTECT DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS.



12. (C) THE FACT THAT MUGABE SPENT THREE-AND-A-HALF HOURS
WITH THE DELEGATION IN A GENUINE GIVE-AND-TAKE REVEALS, AT
THE VERY LEAST, A WILLINGNESS TO ENGAGE WITH ELEMENTS OF
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HE BELIEVES ARE INFLUENTIAL.
THAT SAID, WE ARE NOT AWARE THAT HE MADE ANY COMMITMENTS TO
HALT THE GOZ'S CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE JUDICIARY AND, AS
ALWAYS, WE SHOULD JUDGE HIS GOVERNMENT BY ITS ACTIONS.

IRVING

CONFIDENTIAL

>