MDC deputy secretary for legal affairs and Gweru urban legislator, Brian Dube, says the continued human rights violations in the country coupled with the August 2018 and January 2019 army killings, could force the United Nations to drag President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Dube said, while it seemed Mnangagwa was taking comfort in the false belief that the ICC has no power to arrest him since Zimbabwe is not signatory of the Rome Statute, the UN can force such action to be taken through a resolution by its security council.
“Since Zimbabwe is not a member of the Rome Statute, Mnangagwa can only be dragged to the ICC through a United Nations Security Council Resolution. The violations of human rights in Zimbabwe are wide spread and systematic. They are well planned and affecting a large number of people and hence qualify and fit into the broader definition of crimes against humanity,” Dube, who is also a lawyer, said.
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (often referred to as the International Criminal Court Statute or the Rome Statute) is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC).
It was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome, Italy on July 17, 1998 and it entered into force on July 1, 2002. As of March 2019, 122 States have signed up to the statute.
Among other things, the statute establishes the court’s functions, jurisdiction and structure.
In August last year, six people were killed by the military during protests over the delayed announcement of presidential results. When Mnangagwa announced a 150% fuel price hike in January, security forces killed 17 civilians and injured hundreds following nationwide protests, according to human rights groups.
Lately, abductions and torture of pro-democracy activists have intensified with recent cases being of Tatenda Mombeyarara and Samantha Kureya, who are currently hospitalised.
Civic society leaders and opposition MDC officials have been arrested for exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and expression as enshrined in the Constitution.
The European Union (EU) last week expressed concern over Zimbabwe’s deteriorating human rights record.
Dube indicated that at law the EU has a good standing to voice its concerns.
“The EU is legally correct to raise the red flag over human rights violations in Zimbabwe. Human rights are universal and a responsibility of all nations to protect, promote, enforce and fulfil,” he said.
Dube was born on June 25, 1980 in Mberengwa and studied law (UZ) at the University of Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2004 and did the Masters of Law in International Criminal Justice(LLM-ICJ) at the International Law Center -Open University of Tanzania (2012-2015).
He is studying towards a PhD Law with UNISA.
Dube’s legal profession spans 15 years. He worked as a public prosecutor from 2004 to 2005, before becoming a private legal practitioner.
“I also worked as a lecturer at Midlands State University from 2009 to 2018. I was regional chair and national legal advisor for National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations from 2008 to 2012,” he chronicled.
MP Dube joined the opposition MDC in 2000.
“I joined the party in 2000 as ward 33 youth secretary in Mberengwa. I became engaged with MDC on campus at UZ from 2000 to 2004; I became Midlands youth provincial secretary for legal affair from 2010 to 2014. I was elected MDC national youths spokesperson at the 2014 congress and held the post until April this year,” he said.
“In all these years I have learned servant leadership, where I understand that leadership is not about privilege, but working. I have also learned humility because, every time I have been elected or appointed to a position, it’s not because I am the best, but that people have just given me a chance to serve. I do not take lightly the trust I am given and I try my best to listen to what people expect from me and do exactly that.”
Dube refurbished dilapidated schools, sought sponsorship for self-help projects for the unemployed and is currently building a state-of-the-art college in conjunction with several partners in Gweru urban.
He also implored government to refurbish Gweru General Hospital and provide funds to buy water pumping equipment. Dube is also pushing for house ownership schemes in Gweru.
Despite some stumbling blocks in his work, he continues to persevere.
“Financial resources and an irresponsible central government have been major challenges. On finances, I have resorted to engaging various stakeholders for development such as churches, development partners, the business communities as well as partnership with the community. On (the irresponsible) central government, I have employed the tactic of exposing the key areas so that government is forced to respond. For example, on Gweru General Hospital upgrade, I had to expose the issue through a well-researched question to the minister which compelled the ministry to act and release funds.”
“This is the same tactic I used on sourcing water equipment and infrastructure. The point is that as an MP I have to expose the challenges faced by the community so that they are attended to by the respective ministry.”
As a human rights lawyer, MP Dube has learnt a lot in the course of defending the vulnerable.
“I have had critical experience that human rights violations in Zimbabwe are wide spread and systematic and require dedication and great commitment to fight in court because there is a lot of fear and bias that can cause frustration if a lawyer is not committed,” he said.
Since the July 31, 2018 elections, the MDC has lost several court cases starting with the presidential election results challenge at the Constitutional Court to the recent blanket ban on demonstrations. As a member of the opposition’s legal department, MP Dube believes the problem leading to such developments is broad-based.
“There are many instances where decisions have not come our way from the presidential petition, to ban of demonstrations. A majority of the decisions were on technicalities as courts avoided dealing with the merits of cases. Going forward, we just need to continue litigating and possibly just attend to all details to the extent possible and plug on some technicalities.
“But, by and large, our legal team has been doing exceptionally well, but has faced, in many instances, a judiciary that has tried so hard to find fault and dismiss matters. It is something that we may need to continue polishing up. Remember court litigation is a practice where you need to learn every day,” said Dube
The energetic legislator believes key reforms must now be instituted in the justice system. His stance is in line with the opposition party’s stance that there is now “command justice” in the country as MDC officials such as organising secretary Amos Chibaya and deputy chairperson Job Sikhala have constantly been arrested and denied bail.
“The problem (of the judiciary) is institutional and the way forward is institutional reform of the military, police and judiciary. Zanu PF is isolating itself by continuing human rights violations against Zimbabweans. They must reform and stop violating human rights,” Dube said.
The legislator sits in the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and the Women’s Affairs Portfolio Committees.