LHRC seeks intervention on killing of civilians
Saturday, 13 October 2012 09:41
By Elisha Magolanga
The Citizen Correspondent
Dar es Salaam. The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) has reported the government to several international organisations, accusing it of failing to stop the extrajudicial killing of civilians by security organs.
LHRC Executive Director Helen Kijo-Bisimba said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that there was a surge in the killing of civilians, but not enough was being done to end the trend.
She was commenting on the report of the committee appointed by Home Affairs minister Emmanuel Nchimbi to investigate last month’s killing in Iringa of television journalist Daudi Mwangosi.
Dr Kijo-Bisimba said the report was designed to clear police, who have been accused of killing Mwangosi, adding that the government had a tendency to protect its officials and agencies when they violate human rights.
“The Legal and Human Rights Centre is deeply troubled by killings perpetrated by state organs, especially security agencies, without any action being taken by the authorities…the number of extrajudicial killings taking place in this country is alarming, and this had prompted the LHRC to seek international intervention.”
The centre lodged a complaint with the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on September 28, and on the same day asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to investigate the killings, she said.
The LHRC has also petitioned the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), which is expected to discuss the matter during its meeting in Cote d’Ivoire later this month. Among other things, the LHRC wants the commission to forward the matter to the African Court of Justice.
Dr Kijo-Bisimba said complaints had also been lodged with the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the United Nations office in Tanzania.
The LHRC boss said 24 people had been killed by security agencies so far this year, adding that studies carried out by the centre since 2002 showed that nobody had been punished for extrajudicial killings in Tanzania.
Dr Kijo-Bisimba said the report of the committee appointed by Dr Nchimbi was “ambiguous”, unlike the findings of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT)/Tanzania Editors Forum (TET) and Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRGG).
CHRGG accused the police and Registrar of Political Parties of complicity in human rights abuses and violation of the principles of good governance, setting the stage for events that led to Mwangosi’s killing.
Announcing the MCT/TET findings on Tuesday, MCT Secretary-General Kajubi Mukajanga said police intimidated Iringa-based journalists covering Chadema activities in Nyololo Village, Mufindi District.
Parts of the report compiled by the government-appointed probe team, led by Mr Justice (rtd) Steven Ihema, have been withheld because they were deemed to be prejudicial to the case in which a police officer had been charged with murdering Mwangosi.