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A Shearman & Sterling team has added its voice to the mounting criticism concerning the manner in which the elections in Zimbabwe were conducted
A team of associates has been working on a pro bono basis for the International Bar Association (IBA) and the Law Society of Zimbabwe. The team's remit has been to assess laws enacted by President Robert Mugabe's regime in the run-up to the recent elections. The Shearmans team comprises Lisl Dunlop, Kara Irwin, Johannes Juette and Murray Wheater. Irwin said: "The exercise was that we looked at three pieces of recently promulgated Zimbabwean legislation and compare them to international legal standards. There's a basic premise in international human rights law that, as a citizen, you have a right to vote and that governments have to facilitate that right. "We found the legislation that was passed tended not only to not facilitate the right of every citizen to vote, but to impede it." A spokesperson for the IBA concurred: "The IBA Human Rights Institute believes that through the repeated overruling of, and failure to comply with, the orders of its courts, the Zimbabwean government has encouraged a disregard and disrespect of the legal profession and rule of law." The IBA has been monitoring the state of the Zimbabwean judiciary for some time. In March 2001, a delegation visited Zimbabwe to investigate whether the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law were under threat.