The European Union (EU) policy advisor on Africa and former ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme said that sanctions that were imposed on Zimbabwe in 2002 are not illegal.
Van Damme further argues that Zimbabwe’s economic collapse predated the sanctions and is a result of earlier policy choices by the Zimbabwean government. Writing on microblogging site, Twitter, Van Damme said:
Over recent days I have read a lot of nonsense about “illegal sanctions against #Zimbabwe. I always said I’m not a historian and leave the interpretation of the facts and the judgment of their wisdom to others, but can we at least try to agree on the facts?
European restrictive measures on some entities and individuals were imposed in early 2002 in the run-up of the 2002 elections for breach of fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression and assembly.
These sanctions had nothing “illegal” and the possibility of appropriate measures taken simultaneously on the reorientation (not suspension!) of our development cooperation and the procedure to get there is explicitly foreseen in the Cotonou agreement of which #Zimbabwe is a member.
The collapse of #Zimbabwe’s economy predates these “sanctions” and is related to earlier policy choices.
The need for land reform was never contested by the #EU, the way it was done was, undermining the #ruleoflaw and minimal security of tenure for the new tenants, discouraging investment in the land.
The European “sanctions” were always limited to a restrictive number of entities & individuals plus an arms embargo. There never was a trade embargo, on the contrary, #Zim has always continued benefiting from privileged access to the #EU market under Cotonou.
Unless you claim this limited number of individuals & entities controlled the economy & #Zimbabwe’s external trade, #EU’s sanction can not have been the cause of #Zimbabwe’s economic underperformance over the last 30 years.