“The commission is going to carry out investigations and then when it arrives at a decision that there is human rights violations they have the first option to apply to the High Court for the enforcement of that decision. They can also write a report to the Head of State that ‘may’ enforce their decision.
“This commission when operational will not have powers to investigate alleged human rights violations that happened before the enactment of the amendment number 19, unless such violations have continued after the amendment 19. Anything that happened before
that period, it has no powers to investigate,“ he told journalists in Harare on Monday.
The eight member Human Rights Commission, which was sworn in March is chaired by Professor Reg Austin, a lawyer, former Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Zimbabwe and former head of Commonwealth Secretariat’s Constitutional and Legal Affairs Division.
Professor Austin has been under pressure from Human rights groups who have been demanding that it should investigate all human rights violations back dating from the early 1980s.
These human rights watchdogs say the Human rights commission should be given powers to try and convict anyone found guilty of human rights violations, which occurred in the country over the past 30 years.
People from Matabeleland are also demanding that Zanu (PF) senior officials who spearheaded the Gukurahundi atrocities which lead to the death of thousands of the Ndebele tribe, should be investigated.
Victims of the June 27 bloody presidential runoff elections are calling for the much awaited Human rights Commission to bring to book Zanu (PF) militia and state security agents who butchered their families and friends in 2008.
Chinamasa said his office had finished working on the draft Human rights bill which will be tabled before parliament for endorsement when it re-opens in October.
According to the Global Political Agreement signed between the two MDC formations and Zanu (PF) to form the inclusive government, the Human rights Commission will be responsible for the promotion and creation of awareness of and respect for human rights and freedoms at all levels of society.
It should also recommend to Parliament effective measures to promote human rights and freedoms and investigate the conduct of any authority or person, where it is alleged that any of the rights in the Declaration of Rights has been violated by that authority or person.