Over the past few decades, land issues have climbed to the top of the agenda in many African countries. These issues are a highly sensitive topic as they reflect African history, on the one hand, and are an indicator for the future development of African States and the African people on the other. The status quo of land distribution still shows the imprints of colonial powers that have left their indelible mark in African history over the past few centuries. This is probably why, whenever land issues are being discussed, emotions run high – more often than not culminating in violence and even cold-blooded murder. Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)

have experienced the whole range of difficulties attached to land issues, with Zimbabwe being an extreme and sad example. In the latter country, a government programme of land redistribution in 2000 resulted in the invasion of largely white-owned farms, accompanied by massive violence tolerated and even encouraged by the Zimbabwean government. Of course, such developments are of both national and international concern,

especially when the issue of land distribution goes hand in hand with human rights violations – as was and is the case in Zimbabwe. Undoubtedly, the issue of land distribution needs to be addressed in a manner that rectifies colonial land distribution and other social injustices such regimes spawned. However, this should not be allowed to justify the neglect of national and international human rights standards; in particular, supranational organisations cannot turn a blind eye to States where land redistribution is undertaken in an inhuman and illegal manner. In this context, the concept of regional integration plays a vital role in that it strives to harmonise law and jurisprudence, also with regard to human rights. The case of Zimbabwe has come to the attention of SADC and its judicial

organ, the SADC Tribunal, and will continue to be of national and international interest in the near future. Therefore, this chapter intends to introduce SADC, the SADC Tribunal, and their relevance for the protection and promotion of human rights. One specific case (Mike Campbell (Pvt) Ltd v The Republic of Zimbabwe1) that relates to the land question and the protection of human rights will be discussed in detail. To put this case in context, the history of land distribution in

Zimbabwe will be outlined, with a special emphasis on the legal background to the land reform process that began in 2000. The most recent developments relating to the dispute will be highlighted before showing the legal, political and social consequences that sub-regional jurisdiction may unfold. It is hoped that land-related human rights violations, such as those that occurred

in Zimbabwe, will remain singular instances. Even though the land question always evokes strong passions,2 other SADC countries have shown that inequities related to land issues can indeed be addressed in a more moderate manner to secure peace, stability, democracy, and the rule of law. Albeit far from perfect, land reform in Namibia has the potential to serve as one such example and will, therefore, be sketched for comparative reasons. Africa has taken various steps towards enhancing the process of economic and

political integration on the continent.3 For example, several Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have been established on the continent.4 At the Seventh Ordinary Session of the African Union’s (AU’s) Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Banjul, The Gambia, in July 2006, the AU officially recognised eight such communities5 and all AU member States as being affiliated to one or more such RECs.6 Alphabetically listed, the RECs are as follows:

The Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) The Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) The East African Community (EAC) The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and The Southern African Development Community (SADC).