Concern over security of Mothlante Commission witnesses

Harare-The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has expressed concern over the lack of clarity with regards to the absence of mechanisms that ensure the protection and safety of the Mothlante Commission witnesses.

Speaking during a press briefing in the Forum’s Executive Director Blessing Gorejena said there was no acknowledgement or feedback received from the Commission of submissions filed.

“The Forum is gravely concerned by the lack of clarity regarding acknowledgement or feedback on evidence submitted before the Commission of Inquiry and the absence of mechanisms to ensure the safety of witnesses.

“The key issue of concern is lack of transparency on the procedures of handling the evidence submitted to the Commission. There was no acknowledgement or feedback received from the Commission of submissions filed by the forum and its members who made individual submissions” said Gorejena

She said they were concerned by the Commission’s failure to ensure safety and protection of witnesses.

“The Forum reiterates that the Commission has an obligation to safeguard the security and protection of witnesses, victims and anyone who would have interacted with it during its work. The Forum developed a set of principles for witness protection that were shared with the Commission of Inquiry following its establishment.

“The principles emphasised the need for the Commission to prioritise the security of the victims, witnesses and human rights defenders that testify or provide evidence to the Commission” she said.

The concern by the Forum comes in the wake of an attack on Makomborero Haruzivishe who was attacked by unknown assailants a few days after he testified.

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Others were arrested in Bulawayo whilst Retired Lieutenant Elliot Piki who was eager to testify before the Commission was allegedly abducted and has since returned home though he claims to have been tortured.