Quick media toolkit summary on why HIV criminalisation law should be reformed in Zimbabwe.
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.
On appeal, the Consitutional Court of Zimbabwe decided the only defence to prosecution is disclosure of known or potential HIV infection and suggested people with HIV can be discriminated against by the law if the reason is to protect public health.
Challenges Section 79 of the Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act 23 of 2004, with the court deciding the provision was overly broad and unconstitutionally vague.
Expresses concern that HIV-specific laws harm prevention efforts and care and infringe on human rights. Reaffirms States human rights obligations and calls on SADC Member States to rescind punitive HIV laws.