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International Panel Won't Investigate Zimbabwe's Judiciary Anytime Soon - 2002-09-26

In Zimbabwe, there’s more controversy over the country’s judiciary system. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa is quoted as saying his country will not allow an international panel to enter the country and investigate judicial independence, if there are Britons on it.

The Herald newspaper quotes him as saying they will only “entertain people with an open mind.” The International Commission of Jurists was to send a panel because the Mugabe government has been criticized over the alleged harassment of judges.

Adrian Arena is the deputy secretary-general of the International Commission of Jurists. He says there was an agreement in April last year, made by Mr. Chinamasa, to allow the organization to send an investigating team. He says the Zimbabwe government now says it doesn’t want the panel to come at all, under any circumstances.

Mr. Arena denies claims by the Justice Minister that the commission has already made up its mind about the state of the judiciary. He says the International Commission of Jurists is an impartial organization with a long history of examining judicial systems. He also says the panel’s make up did not include anyone from Britain.

Mr. Arena spoke with English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua. Click the above links to hear interview.