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Zimbabwe has dedicated counterterrorism legislation in place that is used to target political opponents and human rights defenders. There is no carve-out for the exercise of fundamental human rights. The Criminal Code prescribes the death penalty as the maximum punishment for terrorist offences, which are broadly defined.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

The Criminal Code defines terrorism along with insurgency, banditry, and sabotage as follows:

Any person who, for the purpose of 

(a) causing or furthering an insurrection in Zimbabwe; or

(b) causing forcible resistance to the Government or the Defence Forces or any law enforcement agency; or

(c) procuring by force the alteration of any law or policy of the Government; commits any act accompanied by the use or threatened use of weaponry with the intention or realising that there is a real risk or possibility of 

  (i) killing or injuring any other person; or

  (ii) damaging or destroying any property; or

  (iii) inflicting substantial financial loss upon any other person; or

  (iv) obstructing or endangering the free movement in Zimbabwe of any traffic on land or water or in the air; or

  (v) disrupting or interfering with an essential service;

shall be guilty of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism, whether or not any purpose referred to in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) is accomplished.S. 23(1), Criminal Code of Zimbabwe.

The 2007 International Terrorism Act defines “foreign or international terrorist activity” as

(a) the doing of any act inside or outside Zimbabwe against the government of any foreign State which, if committed against the Government of Zimbabwe, would constitute an act of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism; or

(b) engaging in mercenary activity.S. 2(1), 2007 International Terrorism Act.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Zimbabwe is a State Party to only one of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State not party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State not party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State not party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State not party


Zimbabwe is a State not party to the two main regional treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1999 Algiers Convention State not party
2004 Protocol to the Algiers Convention State not party

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The Criminal Code prescribes the death penalty or life imprisonment for any terrorism offences that result in death.S. 23(1), Criminal Code of Zimbabwe.

The 2007 Suppression of International Terrorism Act grants the executive wide powers to designate an organization as a foreign or international terrorist organization. Such organizations are broadly defined as “any association of persons formed with a view to overthrowing or taking over the government of any State by unlawful means or usurping the functions of such government.” Giving moral support to such organizations would be an offence punishable by five years imprisonment. 

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

The Zimbabwe Police Force does not have a dedicated counterterrorism unit. In 2022, the Zimbabwe Republic Police hosted the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol)-sponsored Hybrid Commander’s Training course on investigation of terrorism and organised crime, which was attended by 30 high-ranking police officers seconded from countries in the SADC region. 


Criminal Code of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe 2007 Suppression of International Terrorism Act

Zimbabwe 2007 Public Order and Security Act

Zimbabwe 2002 Public Order and Security Act