In July 2015, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Bank tribunal that deals with disputes under international investment treaties, ruled that Zimbabwe must restitute or pay compensation for BTL’s land. Zimbabwe lost an attempt to annul the ruling in November 2018.
The chiefs of four indigenous communities in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe, and ECCHR petitioned to be amici curiae in the ICSID Border Timbers Limited arbitration, arguing that the tribunal must take the communities’ property and consultation rights into account. The tribunal rejected the petition.
Following the tribunal’s decision in favor of the timber company, the Makomo e Chimanimani Community Trust filed a class action suit in July 2015 against BTL and Zimbabwe before the High Court in Harare, asking it to recognize the community’s traditional land rights, right to consultation, and use and enjoyment of the land. ECCHR supported the communities by petitioning to be an amicus curiae, reminding the High Court of its duty to respect international human rights. ECCHR’s submission was rejected and the organization was fined. The High Court dismissed the case in September 2016. The indigenous communities are appealing to the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe.