US firms Hogan & Hartson and Cooper & Kirk have won a US civil case against Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party
A US federal court in Manhattan has found the party liable for human rights abuses including beatings, torture, intimidation and extra judicial killings prior to the county's elections in June 2000. Zanu-PF failed to send representation to the court and has duly been served with an order of default judgment. All that remains to be decided is the amount of damages to be awarded after testimony and written submissions from the plaintiffs have been considered. A similar case in August 2000 against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic saw damages set at $745m (£512m). Hogan & Hartson partner William Bowman said that because the people involved could not seek redress through the Zimbabwean courts, they had turned to the US in order to gain justice. Bowman has been leading the case with Hamish Hume, an attorney at Washington DC firm Cooper & Kirk. Bowman had originally targeted Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, but the US State Department persuaded the court that his status as a foreign head of state afforded immunity from the claim.