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03 Oct 2003 07:59
The United Nations broke its own anti-torture convention by allowing a Zimbabwean police officer accused of torture to leave its peace force in Kosovo and return to Zimbabwe where he will probably not face investigation.
Henry Dowa, a Zimbawe chief inspector, was named by several victims as having directed their torture, which included prolonged beatings on the soles of their feet and electric shocks causing convulsions. The victims’ allegations were backed by medical examinations.
Human rights groups urged the UN to arrest Chief Inspector Dowa and put him on trial for torture.
The UN declined, citing a lack of funds, and sent him back to Zimbabwe.
There had been plans to get Dowa extradited to stand trial in Britain where some of his alleged victims now live.
Redress, the London organisation which works for justice for survivors of torture, claimed that the UN had managed to break its own treaty by allowing Dowa to evade arrest.
The group said yesterday it was unlikely Dowa would be “held accountable for his alleged crimes, as torture is endemic and part of the Zanu-PF government’s strategy to stay in power”.
Last week Dowa was seen driving a police Land Rover in Harare.
“What is the UN doing? By sending him back here they are allowing him to torture another day.
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