originally by: Amnesty International
published: 21 June 2012
The arrests in South Africa of members of a police unit allegedly linked to numerous unlawful killings and incidents of torture is a breakthrough in fighting impunity for grave human rights violations in the country, Amnesty International said today.
The arrested members of the now-disbanded Cato Manor Organized Crime Unit appeared in the Durban magistrates court today faced with a catalogue of charges including murder, assault, theft and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
The Unit’s alleged victims included a taxi company owner, Bongani Mkhize, killed three months after he obtained a High Court order constraining the police from killing him, and a 15 year-old school boy, Kwazi Ndlovu, shot dead when heavily-armed members of the Unit burst into his home.
“Journalists, lawyers, human rights monitors and family members have battled for more than four years to obtain accountability for this Unit’s crimes. Until now these efforts have been blocked by a climate of impunity fostered by public statements, in the context of the ‘war against crime’, by senior politicians and police officials,” said Mary Rayner, Amnesty International’s South Africa researcher.