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Hear from a refugee High Court Judge

MEDIA ADVISORY
12 August 2008

Hear from a refugee High Court Judge

One man in Wellington is uniquely placed to offer insight into the current politics of Zimbabwe and will be sharing his experiences on August 20 at Victoria University.

Benjamin Paradza is a refugee in New Zealand. In 2006 he fled his position as a High Court judge in Zimbabwe in fear of his life, having been subjected to charges at a trial criticised internationally as being trumped up to remove him from office.

He has held the Sigrid Rausing Visiting Fellowship at Victoria University for two years from June 2006June 2008.

“The judiciary in Zimbabwe, together with senior levels of the public sector, is watching the current talks about powersharing with nervousness,” says Paradza. “They fear exposure."

His lecture, titled ‘Capturing’ the judiciary in Zimbabwe – how it was done and how it might be undone, will detail the mechanisms by which the judiciary was initially so threatened that many judges resigned or left in fear, and others were then ‘captured’ by combinations of gifts and threats.

“Understanding these processes is crucial to future steps to rebuild a semblance of confidence in the independence of the judiciary,” says Paradza.

His lecture is on August 20, from 5.306.30pm in Lecture Theatre 2 of Rutherford House in Bunny Street. It is a public lecture and all are welcome to attend free of charge.

It is organised by Victoria University’s Institute of Policy Studies and the Law School’s New Zealand Centre for Public Law.

This lecture honours Sigrid Rausing, a Londonbased Swedish philanthropist who supports defenders of human rights persecuted for their work and who provided the funding for this Fellowship through the Victoria University Foundation.


ENDS

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