Radio VOP has been informed that the Attorney General’s office will not be sending lawyers to defend the contempt of court case as President Robert Mugabe has said his country is not bound by the tribunal.
“We are not being represented at the tribunal because our position remains the same – we are not bound by that court,” said a top law officer in the AG’s office.
The suit was filed in February and was initially supposed to have been heard in March but postponed to tomorrow (Tuesday).
The farmers want an enforcement order from the Tribunal that urges the SADC leaders to take measures that might involve suspension or expulsion of Zimbabwe from SADC for failing to enforce the court’s ruling delivered in November 2008.
The tribunal had ordered that the Zimbabwe government should not seize land from the 79 farmers who had appealed to the regional court. Government was also ordered to compensate evicted farmers. The tribunal also said Harare’s land reform programme was discriminatory, racist and illegal under the SADC Treaty.
“This is a simple matter. All we want is for the court to determine if government is not in contempt of its earlier ruling and to determine whether it did not breach the SADC Treaty. It is beyond any doubt that they are,” said lawyer David Drury who is representing the farmers.
In January the High Court in Harare refused to enforce a SADC Tribunal judgment. Mugabe later described the judgment as “nonsensical and of no consequence”. The tribunal had also ordered a stop to farm seizures.
Justice Bharat Patel who heard the matter in the High Court said the order on farm seizures could not be implemented because it was against public policy and would cause anarchy in the country.
Government ignored the ruling and Zanu (PF) supporters even stepped up a campaign to drive Zimbabwe’s few remaining white farmers from the farms.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has in the past said Zimbabwe is not bound by the SADC Tribunal.