Semba Judgement, High Court of Zimbabwe (2015)

Judge Charles Hungwe’s reasoning that allowed the appeal on behalf of a 26 year old woman, was charged with the crime of deliberate transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (“HIV”) as defined in s 79 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law Code for briefly mistakenly breastfeeding another woman’s baby.

The judgement found that the prosecution was “ill-conceived as the legislature did not intend that breast-feeding by infected but ignorant women be criminalised. In any event there was no proof that the appellant fully appreciated that her conduct would result in HIV transmission. In the result she was entitled to an acquittal at her trial.”

Role of Media in Ending Criminalisation of HIV – Media Toolkit 2021-2023

The purpose of this media toolkit is to help health journalists and advocates understand HIV criminalisation in Zimbabwe and adequately engage with the various facets of arguments and viewpoints on the subject matter. Journalists and advocates are key stakeholders in promoting public health goals and the advancement of rights and freedoms of those infected and affected by HIV.

Using Science for Justice: The Implications of the Expert Consensus Statement on Zimbabwe’s HIV Criminalisation Law

The article finds that, if applied by lawyers, prosecutors and courts, the Expert Consensus Statement may alleviate some unjust prosecutions and convictions in guiding courts to assess evidence on HIV transmission, to draw appropriate inferences on mental elements of the offence, to recognise defences on the basis of transmission risk-reducing conduct, and to more appropriately inform the courts’ assessment of the harm of HIV infection in sentencing. The implications of the science reflected in the Expert Consensus Statement may also weigh in favour of a finding by the courts that the offence is unconstitutional if a new constitutional case is made against the offence.