Communication 295/04: Noah Kazingachire, John Chitsenga, Elias Chemvura and Batanai Hadzisi (represented by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum) v Zimbabwe

A selection of key paragraph(s) can be found below the document.

120. As explained above, only under closely circumscribed conditions may lethal (or deadly) force be used by the police. Firing a gun at someone is regarded as the exercise of lethal force. The overriding logic of the situation remains the fact that the police have the power to use lethal force only as an exception, motivated by a situation of “self-defence or in the defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury”. If that rationale disappears, the foundation for the exceptional powers and consequently the powers as such disappear. The sanctity of life requires that lives not be taken in the interest of the common good – for example the shooting of a fleeing suspect in order to promote the general respect for the law. (…)
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122. International human rights law proceeds from what is called the protection of life principle. This principle entails that while life may not be sacrificed to protect other values, under closely defined circumstances one life may be taken as a last resort in order to protect another life or lives. The use of lethal force in the case of Beavan Tatenda Kazangachire and Munyaradzi Never Chitsenga was not done as an act of last resort to protect lives. Therefore the use of lethal force by the police was not justified.