IMT-SPONSORED INDEPENDENT COMPLAINTS COMMISSION BILL GAZETTED
Cabinet approved the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission (‘ICC’ or ‘Commission’) Bill on 3 November 2020, establishing a commission to investigate complaints from members of the public against misconduct by members of the security services as well as providing remedies for such misconduct.
While it has been reported Cabinet failed to meet the deadline set by the Constitutional Court to gazette the Bill, this is inaccurate. Under section 3(2) of the Constitutional Court Rules, ‘…where anything is required…in any order of the Court to be done within a particular number of days or hours, a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday shall not be reckoned as part of the holiday period’. Therefore, a correct tallying number of dates from the judgment passed and the approval of the Bill, which excludes weekends and public holidays, shows Cabinet acted within the 45-day deadline set to gazette the Bill.
The ICC Bill was developed to constitute and outline the functions of the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission in line with Section 210 of the 2013 Constitution. A welcome advancement, the bill is a significant development for several reasons. To mention a few, it helps ensure respect for the rule of law in the security sector, promotes accountability, integrity (and thus strengthens public confidence in the sector) as we as aids the protection of individual fundamental human rights.
According to the memorandum, the ICC Bill seeks to achieve the following:
- To give effect to section 210 of the Constitution on the provision of an independent complaints mechanism (‘ICM’) for members of the public against members of the security services
- To provide a complaints mechanism intermediated by a body independent from each of the security services (namely the police, defence, prisons and correctional and intelligence services).
- In carrying out its function, for the Commission to remedy any harm caused by any misconduct on the part of any member of the security services.
The ICC Bill arranges six, distinct sections to facilitate the operation of the section 210-envisaged oversight institution. These cover the general scope of the Bill; the establishment, function, powers, and membership of the Commission; the investigation of complaints and remedies; financial provisions; as well as other general provisions. The most notable of the above-mentioned are summarised below: