Monday, May 31, 2010

SADC Tribunal—renewal of Campbell case claims

Three applicants from the SADC (T) Case No. 2/2007, Campbell et al. and The Republic of Zimbabwe, have renewed their claims before the SADC Tribunal. I have not been able to locate a copy of the filing. My understanding from news and blog reports is that Christopher Mellish Jarrett, Tengwe Estate (Pvt) Ltd. And France Farm (Pvt) Ltd. have renewed their claims against the government. The application is asking for compensation for the takeover of properties totally about $70 million USD, plus 30% interest calculated from 2005, plus the cost of the application.

The original Campbell case involved over 70 farmers, individual and corporate entities, who brought a claim against the Government of Zim for taking their land. The case resulted in a SADC Tribunal ruling condemning Zimbabwe’s land reform programme as discriminatory. Land reform in Zimbabwe is designed to reapportion land in Zim from the previous white majority to greater black ownership. The SADC Tribunal judgment was initially ignored in Zim and then eventually addressed by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe which concluded that it was not politically feasible to apply the SADC ruling. (see Muzungu, 27 Jan 2010)

The Zim government has until the end of May, today I suppose, to file a defence to the application.

I wonder if the government will respond at all. The SADC Tribunal Rule of Procedure #36 allows 30 days from service of the application for the respondent to file a defence. I did not find a rule that addresses whether the action will go forward absent a response from the respondent.

I have a clever friend in Bulawayo who claims that people in Zim are just not uncomfortable enough, which is why things have not exactly boiled over there. I am clearly an outsider but I worry that things are much different than what the level of uncomfortableness might exhibit. I worry that the situation is more like frogs in a pot of water, on the hob, slowly heating to a boil. I think this renewed application shows that some people are uncomfortable enough and are seeking redress if not exactly ‘change’ which may be perceived as futile to pursue.

I worry about other things in Africa too such as using US military power to enforce rulings and decisions by the ICC. I worry that people think the government in the US has made some radical shift since Bush left office-which it has not. It is as hawkish as ever.

Right now I want to get excited about the World Cup and hope the US makes a reasonable demonstration of some skill in football!!

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