SANCTIONS: THE EU, US AND POST-MUGABE ZIMBABWE By Derek Matyszak

 

SANCTIONS: THE EU, US AND POST-MUGABE ZIMBABWE

By Derek Matyszak, Senior Lawyer, Veritas 11/11/2019

Introduction

The Government of Zimbabwe blames the country’s steep economic decline in the decades after 2000, on sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, particularly those of the EU and US. The Government has framed these measures as an international trade embargo against Zimbabwe and, because they do not have the imprimatur of the United Nations Security Council, maintain that they are illegal.

                The measures imposed by the US, EU and other western countries, are neither a trade embargo against Zimbabwe nor purport to bind all countries of the United Nations.  The legality of the measures imposed by the EU was upheld in two legal suits brought before the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The cases were reported as Tomana and Others v The Council of the European Union and European Commission Case C330/15 P and Aguy Georgias and Others v The Council of the European Union and European Commission Case T 168/12. Significantly, the applicants in both cases were only the targeted individuals affected by the measures. The Government of Zimbabwe was not a party to either suit. In the Tomana case the applicant was Johannes Tomana (then the Attorney-General) and 120 other individuals on the EU sanctions list. Despite this, the suit was conducted under the auspices of the Attorney-General, leading to the suspicion that legal costs, reported to be “millions of dollars” were met by Zimbabwean taxpayers. The Sunday Mail suggested that the costs, which included the engagement of two local lawyers and top council from the United Kingdom, were paid by “friends of Zimbabwe inside and outside the country”. When reporting on the proceedings, state media incorrectly stated that Mr. Tomana had brought the suit on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe.

                In August, 2019 the SADC summit in Tanzania declared 25 October as the day on which “SADC Member States can collectively voice their disapproval of the sanctions [on Zimbabwe] through various activities and platforms until the sanctions are lifted.” What, then, are the “sanctions” imposed by the EU and US and will lifting them significantly improve Zimbabwe’s economy?

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