WILLIAM Harrington and Robert Chimambo say they reserve the right to take the Forest 27 matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague if they fail in their quest to seek a local remedy.
Harrington and Chimambo, the complainants in the matter, say the controversial degazetting of a major portion of forest reserve 27 to pave way for over 300 residential developments was to turn the area into a huge pit latrine as each house would have a soak away.
“A soak-away is in effect a pit latrine. FR no. 27 is a water catchment area and aquifer for the greater city of Lusaka. The massive housing development will also cause surface and underground water contamination and pollution from use of household chemicals such as Harpic to the detriment of millions of citizens who depend on the water source for survival. It is no wonder that government did not consult the Zambia Environmental Management Authority (ZEMA) and the Water Resources Management (WARMA) prior to degazetting of part of FR No.27,” according to a statement by the duo.
“In the month of August this year, we asked our humble President to consider the plight of thousands of local residents in 1994 by revoking the 3 or so statutory instruments he signed but to no avail. So the option of taking the matter of FR No.27 [to the international court] is under serious consideration and consultations have reached an advanced stage. It is a crime against humanity to turn a prestine and strategic water source into a pit latrine and the ICC will be expected to take a very keen interest in the whole matter.”