gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Irish lawyers nominate Douglas Coltart for the EU lawyers award – The Zimbabwe Mail

Irish lawyers nominate Douglas Coltart for the EU lawyers award

Douglas Coltart
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DUBLIN, Ireland – The Law Society of Ireland and the Bar of Ireland have nominated Zimbabwean human-rights lawyer Doug Coltart for the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe’s (CCBE) Human Rights Award 2023.

In a letter to the CCBE, Gary Lee (chair of the Law Society’s Human Rights and Equality Committee) said that the organisations wanted to highlight Coltart’s “outstanding commitment to the advancement of human rights and democratisation in Africa, and his continued advocacy for the rule of law”.

The lawyer is a partner at Mtetwa & Nyambirai Legal Practitioners, where his practice areas focus on constitutional and human-rights law through both criminal and civil litigation.

Challenges to unjust laws

The letter of nomination states that, in Zimbabwe, he has represented numerous journalists, trade unionists, students and activists who have been arrested and prosecuted for their work or while exercising their constitutional rights.

Coltart also represents victims of torture and the families of victims of extra-judicial killings to seek compensation through civil litigation, as well bringing strategic public-interest litigation to challenge unjust laws or unconstitutional practices, such as the forcing of schoolchildren to attend political rallies.

Assaulted

The nominating organisations say that he has consistently faced physical attacks, intimidation and arrests by Zimbabwe Republic Police officers while practicing in Zimbabwe.

“By way of example, in November 2019, Mr Coltart was physically assaulted by police officers at Harare Central Police Station while offering legal support to his client, despite identifying himself as a lawyer and presenting his practising certificate,” the letter states.

In December 2022, numerous United Nations Special Rapporteurs and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention wrote a joint letter to the Government of Zimbabwe bringing attention to the “successive assaults and detentions carried out against Mr Douglas James Coltart by Zimbabwe police and security forces, in connection with the legitimate exercise of his professional activities”.

Source: Law Society Gazette of Ireland