"A Place in the Sun" examines the state of the legal system in the aftermath of the Global Political Agreement of September 2008. It follows an investigative mission to Zimbabwe late last year.

The report concludes that, whilst respect for the rule of law in Zimbabwe has not improved, and has quite possibly worsened, since the formation of the Transitional Government two years ago, there is cause for hope. It recommends:

  • the end of the culture of impunity on the part of the police and state security forces;
  • a transparently composed and genuinely independent Judicial Services Commission with the power to appoint all judges, magistrates and the Attorney General;
  • ensuring lawyers can practise without harassment or intimidation; and
  • providing indigent defendants in criminal proceedings with free representation by a properly qualified lawyer.

“A Place in the Sun” takes its title from the aspiration of the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP) of March 2009: "STERP should lay the foundation of a basic African State that will find its place in the sun.”

Desmond Browne QC, the immediate past Chairman of the Bar Council and a leader of the delegation, said:
“With the eyes of the world now on the Southern African region, this is a critical moment to evaluate the progress of the Zimbabwean Transitional Government in re-establishing the rule of law. From what we saw, we were left in no doubt as to the urgent need to find ways in which the legal profession internationally can support this process. “The legal infra-structure remains in place, supported by some admirably motivated lawyers and civil society groups. This will surely enable the rule of law to flourish in a more congenial political climate.

“To support the vital work of these groups, the Southern African Development Community and the international community in general must ensure an increase in aid targeted at those bodies promoting the rule of law in Zimbabwe. There is a crying need for both financial and institutional assistance."