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White Zim farmer hails AU ruling

The AU made a ruling which could have far-reaching implications for justice in Zimbabwe.

Farmers. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - A Zimbabwean farmer who lost his property under the land seizure of white-owned farms has hailed a decision by the African Union (AU) to hear his case.

Farmer Ben Freeth this week found out about the ruling made by the AU's rights body last month, which could have far-reaching implications for justice in the region.

Freeth and his late father-in-law won a land-mark case against President Robert Mugabe's land seizures before the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Tribunal, with the regional court holding Zimbabwe in breach of international legal obligations.

But the tribunal was effectively dissolved last year, with Sadc leaders resolving that its mandate should be confined to treaty issues and resolving disputes between member states.

Freeth challenged the decision at the AU, which ruled in its favour.

He said the AU's ruling meant there would be significant pressure for the Sadc Tribunal to resume operations, giving individuals the option of a regional court if denied access to justice in their own countries.