By Staff Reporter
PROMINENT Zimbabwean human rights lawyer Doug Coltart hopes his nomination for the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe’s (CCBE) 2023 Human Rights Award will help to put the spotlight on human rights abuses in the country.
Coltart was on Thursday nominated for the award by the Law Society and the Bar of Ireland.
The CCBE award is granted to a lawyer or lawyers’ organisation that has brought honour to the legal profession by upholding the highest values of professional and personal conduct in the field of human rights.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Coltart said he feels honoured by the recognition.
“I am humbled to be nominated for this award,” Coltart said.
“My hope is that it will shine a spotlight on the situation in our nation and the human rights abuses faced by the amazing people I have the privilege of representing.
“I am grateful to God, who has protected and guided me through many trials, and to all those who have supported and encouraged me,” he said.
Coltart is a partner at Mtetwa & Nyambirai Legal Practitioners where he focuses on constitutional and human rights law through both criminal and civil litigation.
He has represented numerous journalists, trade unionists, students and activists who have been arrested and prosecuted for their work or while exercising their constitutional rights.
Coltart also represents victims of torture and the families of victims of extra-judicial killings to seek compensation through civil litigation, as well as bringing strategic public-interest litigation to challenge unjust laws or unconstitutional practices, such as the forcing of schoolchildren to attend political rallies.
He has consistently faced physical attacks, intimidation and arrests by Zimbabwe Republic Police officers while practicing in Zimbabwe.
Coltart holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Cape Town.
He has written widely on human rights and constitutional law in Zimbabwe and his work has been referred to by the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe.
He previously worked at Gill, Godlonton & Gerrans Legal Practitioners in Harare before moving to the United States for several years, where he worked for an international non-profit organisation on issues of constitutionalism and democratic governance in Zimbabwe and other African countries.
Upon his return to Zimbabwe in 2017, he joined Mtetwa & Nyambirai.