David Gardner, Daily Mail (London), September 17, 2010
A woman who admitted taking part in savage evictions of white farmers from their homes in Zimbabwe lost her bid for asylum after a High Court judge accused her of ‘crimes against humanity.’
Mr Justice Ouseley threw out the widowed mother-of-two’s appeal to remain in the UK after she confessed to beating up ten people during two land invasions.
The judge said the state-sponsored mob violence, which saw white famers’ land seized and shared out among President Robert Mugabe’s cronies, was akin to genocide.
A woman who admitted taking part in savage evictions of white farmers from their homes in Zimbabwe lost her bid for asylum after a judge accused her of ‘crimes against humanity’
‘We are satisfied that the two farm invasions were crimes against humanity,’ he said, likening the 39-year-old woman’s role to a concentration camp guard who followed Nazi orders during the Holocaust.
Mr Justice Ouseley threw out the mother-of-two’s appeal to remain in the UK after she confessed to beating up ten people during two land invasions
The woman, who cannot be named, came to Britain illegally in 2002 and did not claim asylum until six years later.
Her bid for refugee status was rejected on the grounds that her own violent actions in Zimbabwe disqualified her from humanitarian protection in this country.
She admitted to being part of a gang of thugs from Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party who invaded two white-owned farms intent on causing maximum terror and driving away black workers.
The woman, referred to only as ‘SK”, agreed she had beaten up to ten people whilst their homes burned, ‘inflicting enough pain to get them to run away.’
She said that on one occasion, she beat a woman so badly she thought she would die.
However, she insisted she had taken part in the raids under duress to prove her loyalty to Mugabe’s regime and she had never intended to kill anyone.
Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting at the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber said the farm invasions were ‘part of widespread, systematic attacks’ against white farmers and their black workers, carried out with the full knowledge of the regime ‘as a deliberate act of policy’.
The intention behind the ‘obviously inhumane’ invasions ‘was to cause great suffering or inflict serious physical or mental injury’ on victims and cow them into never returning to their homes or opposing the Mugabe regime, he added.
The woman insisted she had taken part in the raids under duress to prove her loyalty to Mugabe¿s regime and she had never intended to kill anyone
‘The aim was achieved by the mob violence of beatings administered to men and women, burnings and lootings in a deliberately brutal and terrifying experience.
‘They were undertaken for political reasons, the suppression of perceived opposition and for the financial advancement of the regime members and supporters,’ he added.
There was also a ‘clear racial element’ to the attacks, the judge said.
Zimbabwe had 4,500 white commercial farmers and agriculture was the cornerstone of the country’s economy before the Mugabe government’s controversial land seizures began a decade ago.
Of the 300 farms left, at least 152 of them have reportedly been targetted for eviction with foreign farmers at the top of the list to go.
The Tribunal accepted that the woman was a ‘lesser participant’ in the bloodshed and others were even more brutal.
However, she took ‘a voluntary, even if reluctant’ part.
Even though not a ringleader, the same could be said of concentration camp guards who ‘make a substantial contribution to genocide’ despite their peripheral role, said the judge.