The Save the SADC Tribunal Campaign documentary film was produced by the Mike Campbell Foundation and was narrated by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, patron of the Mike Campbell Foundation. (Background information overleaf).

You-tube – 4 minute version

You-Tube link - 10 minute version

Names and titles of interviewees:


  1. Justice Ariranga Pillay, former SADC Tribunal Judge President (Mauritius)

  2. Alice Mogwe, director, Ditshwanelo, Botswana Centre for Human Rights

  3. Patrick Craven, spokesperson, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)

  4. Elize Angula, attorney (Namibia)

  5. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Elders Group chairman, Nobel Peace Laureate

  6. Lloyd Kuveya, project lawyer, Regional Advocacy Programme, Southern Africa Litigation Centre

  7. Justice Dr Onkemetse Tshosa, former SADC Tribunal judge (Botswana) - I think we should add “Botswana”

  8. Nicole Fritz, executive director, Southern Africa Litigation Centre

  9. Clement Mavungu, Legal Adviser, International Commission of Jurists

The campaign to save the Southern African Development Community’s human rights court, the SADC Tribunal, a vital institution for legal redress, was initiated in 2012. The campaign was spearheaded in the SADC region by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, the International Commission of Jurists and the SADC Lawyers’ Association, supported by leading legal and human rights organisations.


Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu added his highly respected voice to the initiative. Without the highly respected Tribunal, the region would lose a vital ally of its citizens, investors and future development, and victims of state-sponsored human rights abuses – notably in Zimbabwe - would have nowhere to turn, he said.


From 2007, the Tribunal ruled on 20 cases that included disputes between citizens and their governments, as well as cases between companies and governments.  The majority involved Zimbabwean citizens taking the Zimbabwe government to court.


In December 2010, in their judgment on the Gondo case, the Tribunal ordered the Zimbabwe government to pay US$17 million compensation to nine victims of organised violence and torture perpetrated by the army and police.

The victims had suffered bullet wounds, beatings and even paralysis as a result of the physical violence at the hands of the police and soldiers.  

Two years earlier, in November 2008, the Tribunal had ruled that President Mugabe’s land reform programme was both illegal and racist.


Following intensive lobbying by the Zimbabwe government, the SADC heads of state suspended the Tribunal in August 2011 and there was widespread concern that they would decide at the Maputo summit in August 2012 to remove the Court’s human rights jurisdiction.


This proved to be the case and the decision was taken to shut the doors of the SADC Tribunal to the region’s citizens, preventing them from seeking justice and undermining the rule of law. It also left the tribunal in limbo and rendered it completely toothless by denying individual access to the court.