Zimbabwe: army killings should be investigated

‘By using live ammunition against unarmed protesters, the army has broken the very same rule of law that they should protect’ - Colm Ó Cuanacháin

The Zimbabwean authorities must launch a prompt and effective investigation into the army’s killing of three protesters and injuring of scores of others following post-election violence in the country today, said Amnesty International.

Police have confirmed that three people have been killed after soldiers fired live ammunition on fleeing people following post-election protests in the capital Harare, with some of the injured and dead being shot in the back.

The army also ordered journalists covering demonstrations to switch off their video recording equipment and cameras.

Demonstrators were calling for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to expedite the release of the presidential election results after voting on Monday.

Firearms must never be used as a tool for containing violence by protesters. They may only be used in defence against an imminent threat of death or serious injury, in order to save another life.

Colm Ó Cuanacháin, Amnesty International’s Acting Secretary General, said:

“The army’s conduct should be promptly investigated, with those responsible brought to justice.

“By using live ammunition against unarmed protesters, the army has broken the very same rule of law that they should protect.

“The militarisation of the prevailing post-election environment is muzzling freedom of expression, association and assembly. People must be guaranteed their right to protest.

“Media freedom must also be guaranteed and respected in this prevailing post-election environment. Journalists should not be intimidated for doing their work.”

Voters intimidated ahead of vote

The post-election violence earlier today follows elections on Monday, with the vote combining presidential, parliamentary and local government elections. The elections took place in a context of intimidation of people in some rural parts of Zimbabwe, with uniformed military men and intelligence agents deployed into villages. Military intelligence were reported going house to house, sometimes at night, in the lead-up to the elections telling villagers to “vote right” in places such as Mutoko and Domboshava in Mashonaland East.

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