A United States federal court ruled that President Robert Mugabe, as the first secretary of the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front, was liable to damages related to the political violence in the run up to the 2000 parliamentary elections.
The case had been taken to the US courts by Movement for Democratic Change activists who had either been victimised or whose relatives had been caught up in the violence in the run-up to the elections.
The judgement was in default. Previously, the Zimbabwe government had appealed through the United States ambassador in Harare to have the case dropped.
In an editorial after the default verdict, the Herald said the judgment was a typical example of American arrogance towards the rest of the world.
“But we all know that the meaning of justice and fair play has a different interpretation in America to that of the rest of the world. Otherwise, where else in the world would a learned judge pass such judgement without giving audience to the other party?” the paper queried.
Viewing cable 01HARARE3301, MEDIA REPORT – NEW YORK COURT DECISION ON
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
051324Z Nov 01
PAGE 01 HARARE 03301 051421Z
INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AF-00 A-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00
DS-00 EUR-00 UTED-00 VC-00 TEDE-00 LAB-01 L-00
VCE-00 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 TEST-00 USIE-00 IIP-00 DSCC-00
DRL-02 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /003W
——————39F925 051421Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0201
INFO AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
UNCLAS HARARE 003301
AF/PD FOR COX, ROBERTSON, AF/S FOR KRAFT, AF/P, INR/R/MR,
NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT – NEW YORK COURT DECISION ON
PRESIDENT MUGABE AND ZANU-PF.
¶1. THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED DAILY “THE HERALD” DEDICATED
ITS NOVEMBER 3 EDITORIAL TO THE RECENT DEFAULT JUDGEMENT
AGAINST PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE ISSUED BY AN U.S.
FEDERAL COURT. THE RULING THAT PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE,
IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE FIRST SECRETARY OF THE RULING
ZANU-PF PARTY, IS LIABLE FOR DAMAGES RELATED TO
POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN ZIMBABWE WAS NOT WELL RECEIVED BY
THE PAPER. UNDER HEADLINE “U. S. COURT’S RULING
DEFIES LOGIC,” THE PAPER COMMENTS:
¶2. “THE RECENTLY PASSED U. S. FEDERAL COURT’S RULING
DECLARING THAT PRESIDENT MUGABE CAN BE SUED IN THAT
COUNTRY AS THE FIRST SECRETARY OF ZANU PF, DEFIES ALL
LOGIC AND IS A TYPICAL EXAMPLE OF AMERICAN ARROGANCE
TOWARDS THE REST OF THE WORLD. . . BUT WE ALL KNOW THAT
THE MEANING OF JUSTICE AND FAIR PLAY HAS A DIFFERENT
INTERPRETATION IN AMERICA TO THAT OF THE REST OF THE
WORLD. OTHERWISE, WHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD WOULD A
LEARNED JUDGE PASS SUCH JUDGEMENT WITHOUT GIVING
AUDIENCE TO THE OTHER PARTY? ANY PROPERLY CONSTITUTED
COURT WITH THE DESIRE TO UPHOLD THE INTERESTS OF JUSTICE
WOULD, BEFORE HEARING SUCH A CASE, EQUIP ITSELF WITH
UNBIASED EVIDENCE OF THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND ON THE
GIVEN COUNTRY. . . IN THIS CASE IT SEEMS THE PRESIDING
JUDGE ALREADY HAD A PRECONCEIVED IDEA ABOUT ZIMBABWE AND
SAW IT FIT TO DISREGARD THE RULES OF JUSTICE. DESPITE
THE LAID-DOWN RULES, THE U. S. COURT ISSUED A DEFAULT
JUDGEMENT AGAINST ZANU PF WITHOUT ENSURING THAT THE
RESPONDENT HAD BEEN PROPERLY SERVED. . . THEREFORE,
SINCE IT IS QUITE APPARENT THAT SERVICE WAS NOT PROPERLY
EFFECTED, THE COURT SHOULD HAVE REFUSED THE HEAR THE
MATTER. . . .”
PAGE 03 HARARE 03301 051421Z