MASTER OF LAWS (LLM): CONSTITUTIONAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
1.1 Academic Regulations for Postgraduate degree programmes.
1.2. The Master of Laws (LLM) degree in Constitutional and Human Rights Law is a
three semester programme offered on a block-release basis. The programme is aimed
at professionals who possess an LLB qualifcation seeking specialized knowledge in
the areas of constitutional and human rights law.
2.1 The programme provides an academic opportunity for students intending to
deepen their understanding and knowledge of constitutional and human rights
law. The degree invites students to explore and appreciate the convergence
of constitutional and human rights law in a constitutional democracy and the
importance of such convergence to a legal system.
2.2 The development of constitutional and human rights law in the public interest
litigation context is critical in the development of the country’s legal system. In
light of Zimbabwe’s new constitutional dispensation, the programme provides
options to candidates who wish to enhance their litigation skills in constitutional
3. CAREER PROSPECTS
The LLM programme enhances career prospects in various areas for a target group thatincludes, but is not limited to law graduates, practising attorneys, academics, civil society and human rights law. practitioners, members of the judiciary, and law offcers in government departments.
4. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
4.1 Applicants shall possess a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB). Applicants are
required to have at least a 2.2 (Lower Second) degree class, or the equivalent
4.2 Other factors such as relevant professional experience will also be taken into
consideration in assessing applications.
5. GENERAL PROVISIONS
5.1 The Master of Laws in Constitutional and Human Rights Law is studied through
taught modules with continuous assessment and examinations offered at the end
of each semester.
5.2 The programme is completed over a period of three semesters. The degree
programme shall be by block release. The method of learning will be through
lectures and seminars. Contact shall be a minimum of 60 hours per semester for
each module. Each semester has three (3), two week blocks.
6.1 Overall assessment shall be based on continuous assessment and formal examinations.
Each candidate is required to earn twenty (20) credits in the taught modules and
sixteen (16) credits in the research component.
6.2 Examinations shall be written at the end of each semester. Each module will be
examined by a paper which is, four (4) hours long. In determining the fnal marks for
modules, weighting will be as follows:
7. 7.1 For a candidate to proceed to the next level of the programme, the candidate must
have passed at least two modules per level.
7.2 If a candidate fails all modules at the end of the frst semester, he or she shall retake
the failed modules.
8.1 Two external Examiners shall be appointed by Senate on the recommendation of the
Faculty Higher Degrees Committee to examine written modules in respect of the
8.2 Candidates who have neither fnished nor submitted their dissertations in the third
semester shall be required to re-register for their work to be assessed and/or submitted
8.3 Upon failure in a particular module(s), candidates can retake the failed modules in
the following semester.
9. DEGREE CLASSIFICATION
|80% – 100%|
70% – 79%
50% – 69%
|Pass with Distinction|
Pass with Merit
|0% – 49%||Fail|
10. PROGRAMME STRUCTURE
The Master of Laws (LLM): Constitutional and Human Rights Law shall be a taught
programme with a dissertation which commences in the second semester and submitted
in the fnal (third) semester. The degree programme will run for three semesters and is
structured as follows:
|First (Opening) semester:||3 core modules.|
|Second (Penultimate) semester: 2 elective modules plus dissertation.|
|Third (Final) semester:||dissertation(continued).|
|LM601||Advanced Constitutional Law||4|
|LM602||Advanced Human Rights Law||4|
|LM604||International Criminal Law||4|
|LM609||Disability Rights Law||4|
|LM610||Comparative Constitutional Law||4|
|LM611||Constitutional and Human Rights Litigation||4|
|LM612||Constitutional Property Law||4|
|LM613||Advanced International Humanitarian Law||4|
LM601 Advanced Constitutional Law
The module seeks to provide a focused and deeper appreciation of the jurisprudential and
theoretical basis for constitutionalism, aspects of constitution making process, constitutions and
constitutionalism in Zimbabwe. It is further aimed at extending knowledge of constitutional
principles, concepts and constitutional rights, and constitutional interpretation. Issues to be
canvassed further include democratic governance through commissions and related institutions,
the convergence of constitutional law and human rights in Zimbabwe, electoral systems and
participatory democracy, the rule of law and judicial matters.
It should be emphasized that the module is rooted in constitutional law and practice throughout
Zimbabwe’s constitutional history. To this extent, the module canvasses all post independence
constitutional developments and constitutional processes that characterize Zimbabwe’s
constitutional history and its constitutional jurisprudence. Topics under this module include:
• Jurisprudential and Theoretical Basis for Constitutionalism
• Constitutionalism and the constitution making process
• Constitutional rights in the Zimbabwean Constitution and constitutional
• Democratic Governance under the Constitution
• The Constitution and Institutional Guarantees for Democracy
• Electoral Systems and Participatory Democracy
• The Legislature: Structures, Competencies and Functions
• The Constitution and Judicial Function
• Judicial Review
• Constitutional rights and Human rights in Zimbabwe
LM602 Advanced Human Rights Law
The Advanced Human Rights Module is one of the core-components of the LLM Programme in Human Rights and Constitutional Law. The focus is on multidisciplinary issues and underpinnings
pertaining to human rights and how it should be understood as an important tool to an end – the
general wellbeing of Zimbabweans and other people of the world. The primary objectives of the
module are thus as follows:
• Build an understanding of the conceptual, philosophical and ideological nature of
human rights in light of their origin;
• Explore the national understanding, application, attitudes, and perceptions of human
• Study in detail the normative content of human rights as provided for in the Bill of
Rights as complemented by international and regional human rights treaties.
• Explore the opportunities for promotion and protection of human rights by utilizing
both judicial, quasi-judicial and non-judicial procedures and institutions.
• Make a case for the necessity of international human rights protection mechanisms as
secondary in nature.
• Familiarize candidates with promotion and protection options at international level
including treaties, institutions, and procedures and prevailing jurisprudence in the area.
• Critique and assess the strengths and weaknesses of international protection.
The module will be in four parts as. The frst part will examine the conceptualization, origins
and philosophical foundations of human rights. This part of the module will focus on:
• Defnitions, origins, and history of human rights in light of leading scholarship.
• The universality, relativity, interrelatedness, interdependency of human rights
• Human rights and culture/religion
• Categories of human rights (thematic, ‘generations’, groups protected.
• The nature of the mandate of independent constitutional commissions
The second part of the module will focus on the national protection of human rights
• Normative content (interpretation) of each right and freedom in the Constitution.
• Limitation of rights in terms of Section 86, 87 and 113 of the Constitution.
• Concept of non-limitation of rights.
• Constitutional jurisdiction of courts, standing and remedial powers.
• Human rights litigation through impact litigation.
• Skills specifc to human rights/constitutional litigation.
• The new advent of constitutional interpretation consequent to 2013 Constitution
The third part of the module will look at international protection of human rights particularly
• The United Nations – UN Charter-based and treaty-based protection of human
• The UN Human Rights Council, special procedures, Universal Periodic Review and
special mechanisms – critique and analysis.
• The UN treaties and oversight of implementation by treaty-bodies.
• The treaty-body system of human rights oversight.
• State reporting procedure (purpose and procedure).
• Individual communications procedure (legal basis, standing, exhaustion of local
remedies, legal reasoning in decisions, compliance with decisions, effectiveness).
• Effectiveness of the international protection in comparison to national.
The last part of the module will look at regional protection of human rights;
• Membership and geographical dynamics of these supra-national institutions
• Respective human rights systems paying attention to treaties, institutions,
jurisprudence, effectiveness and enforcement of judgments of their courts.
• Relationship, if any between these regional systems and the global protection matrix.
• Litigating before regional human rights systems (pay attention to the international
criminal jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights)
the new relevance of international criminal law.
• The place of sub-regional (SADC, ECOWAS, EAS, MAGHREB) economic blocs to
the protection of human rights at that level
LM603 Research Methodology
This module is meant to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct
research, to critically evaluate published research and to explore different ways of translating
research questions in quantitative or qualitative studies. The module will focus on the
• Understanding the range of paradigms and data-gathering techniques available to the
• Distinguishing the purpose and product of qualitative research from that of quantitative
• Research methods, including the application and conceptualization of theory, research
• Sampling, strategies for framing research and interview questions,
• Use of GPS to demarcate area of research where feld work is involved
• Data coding and analysis.
• Ethical responsibilities of qualitative researchers, who have closer contact with
“subjects” and “informants” than do their more quantitative counterparts
LM604 International Criminal Law
International criminal law deals with the prosecution of international crimes. It serves as an important
mechanism that provides remedies to victims of human rights violations. Provision of remedies to
victims is a very important area of international human rights law. The main objective of the module is
to highlight to students that without accountability and provision of remedies to victims, international
human rights law is nothing but the proverbial brutum fulmen – a harmless thunderbolt.
Through the lens of international criminal law, students will appreciate that the purpose of human
rights law is not only to set standards for governments, non-state actors and their agents, it is to
prescribe the consequences of a failure to meet those standards – through criminal sanction for
example. Not only will the module discuss criminal accountability of natural persons but also
corporations. In recent years, some multi-national companies have been involved in the grave
violations of human rights especially on the African continent. There is a growing jurisprudence
that such corporations must not only face civil liability but criminal liability also.
Although the focus will be on international criminal law accountability, there will also be a
discussion on other alternatives to accountability such as those espoused in transitional justice.
The aim is to make students aware of the potential clashes and opportunities between international
criminal law and some elements of transitional justice – a situation that currently characterize
many African countries.
Further, inasmuch as the module focuses on international criminal law as an enforcement tool of
human rights, there is an underlying theme that it is the State that has the primary obligation to
investigate human rights violations and prosecute those responsible within its domestic courts.
The international community through international criminal law and international criminal courts
should only complement domestic efforts – coming in only when the concerned state is unable or
unwilling to investigate and prosecute.
The following are the themes that will be explored:
• Conceptualization of international criminal law
• History of international criminal law and the human rights paradigm
• Ad Hoc Tribunals, the International Criminal Court, the proposed African Criminal
• The correlation between human rights protection and international criminal law
• Victims of human rights violations’ right to a remedy
• Investigation and prosecution as an essential tool of remedy
• Domestic versus regional and international criminal accountability
• State’s primary obligation to investigate and prosecute human rights violations
• Complementarity between domestic and international criminal jurisdiction over rights
• Universal criminal jurisdiction over gross violations of human rights constituting
• Criminal liability of corporations for human rights violations
• Advantages, disadvantages, challenges and opportunities in holding corporations
criminally liable for human rights violations.
• Transitional justice as a complement or an alternative to international criminal law and
LM605 Environmental Law
In light of the inclusion of environmental rights in the Zimbabwean Constitution, the module will
explore the importance of, and role played by, these rights in regulatory efforts. Particular attention
will be drawn to the exercise and enforcement of these rights as part of an overarching approach
to regulating environmental protection. In addition to the environmental regulatory framework,
the module will focus on the international environmental regulatory framework, and how it relates
to, enhances, and inﬂuences the domestic regulatory framework. As such, the course will cover
aspects such as,
• Justifying environmental regulation
• The constitutional content, scope and nature of environmental rights
• The international environmental legal regulatory framework
• Human rights approaches to environmental protection
• substantive rights
• procedural rights
• Public interest environmental law: Public Participation
• Access to information
• Access to justice
• The role and object of environmental rights in Command and Control Regulation
• Enforcement of environmental rights as constitutional rights in Command and Control
• Specifc environmental rights issues
• Waste Management Law
• Contaminated land
• Mining and environmental law
• Environmental Justice and the Constitution
LM606 Women’s Rights
The main focus of the module is on the concept of women’s rights within equality and non
discrimination framework and specifc issues of concern to women within the context of feminist
legal theories. This module further examines how gender shapes and informs the law and how legal
doctrine affects our understanding of women’s rights. The module will examine the relationship
between sex and gender as reﬂected in and inﬂuenced by law; cultural images of women and men
that both shape and are shaped by the law; and institutional and social structures and practices that
perpetuate inequality or subordination.
The module is in three main parts. The frst part examines feminist legal theories and their impact
on feminist jurisprudence as well as their applicability or shortcomings within the local and
broader non-western context. This part of the module will focus on:
• Introduction to feminist terms: sex, gender, oppression of women, subordination of
women, deprivation, feminism, emancipation
• Feminist theories and feminist jurisprudence with in an African setting
• Law in a patriarchal society
The second part of the module looks at Constitutional and International human rights instruments
and analyses the factors that militate against the adequate protection of women’s rights. It examines
more fully the principles of equality and non discrimination in the Constitution of Zimbabwe as
well as international and regional instruments impacting on women’s rights. Focus will be on
• Introduction to human rights instruments impacting on women’s rights
• Strengths and limitations of various category of rights ie frst, second and third
• Why women’s human rights
• Human Rights Principles on family laws and protection of the family
• Human Rights Principles on reproductive and sexual rights
• Violence against women as a human rights violation
• Sexual harassment
The third part of the module gives detailed attention to specifc topics affecting women which
• women and culture
• women in politics and decision making,
• The concept of women’s empowerment and the action strategies for the furtherance
of women’s rights.
LM607 Refugee Law
The module aims at inculcating in candidates an appreciation of the national and international
legal framework for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers and the attendant state practice
using Zimbabwe as the main case study. The key objectives of the module are thus as follows;
• To build a full appreciation in candidates regarding the prevailing national legal
framework for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers in Zimbabwe.
• Acquaint candidates with specifc knowledge on the extent to which the Refugees Act
[Chapter 4:03] has domesticated international instruments in that discipline.
• To equip candidates with practical knowledge on the determination of refugee status
in Zimbabwe in terms of domestic law and procedure.
• Assist candidates transposing national processes into the domain of international
refugee law by linking the national and international legal frameworks for the
protection of the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
The module will be in in four parts. The frst part examines the introduction to refugee and
will focus on the following;
• Defnitions and descriptions of refugees
• Defnitions of asylum seekers
• Zimbabwe as sending, transit and destination of refugees
• Constitutional and general legal framework on refugee law
• Aspects of traffcking in persons
The second part will examine international refugee law and will focus on the following;
• United Nations approach to refugee defnition
• Regional approach to refugee defnition
• Refugees for the purpose of general international law
• Determination of refugee status
• Determination by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees
• Determination by States – Zimbabwe case study
The third part examines asylum and will focus on the following:
• Concept of asylum
• Principle of non-refoulement
• Asylum in international law and practice
• Asylum in national law and state practice
• Standards of treatment vis-à-vis refugees
The fourth part examines protection and issues and will focus on the following;
• General protection issues
• Internally displaced persons
• Solutions to refugee problems
• International co-operation
• Treaty standards and implementation in national law
LM608 Child Rights
Child Rights is a unique and multi-layered area of law which explores the international, regional and
national legal spectrums. The module intersects with different domestic areas of civil, criminal and
administrative law, as well as public international law, international humanitarian law, international
criminal law and international labour law. A special feature concerns the interplay between
children’s rights and private international law, in particular, with the instruments developed by the
Hague Conference on Private International Law. It also examines the scope of children’s rights as
protected by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the African Charter
on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), the Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013) and the
Zimbabwean legislation that seek to protect children’s rights. Additionally, this module seeks to
scrutinize the ideas and attitudes towards children on one hand and family dynamics, educational
practices, socio-economic structures as well as cultural and social differences on the other hand. In
ensuring that the rights of children are respected, regardless of their status in the society a variety
of theories and assumptions will also be considered.
The module canvasses the following topics:
• The historical background of children’s rights and child rights theories
• Conceptions of childhood and the evolving capacities of the child
• International law and the monitoring structures
• Domestication of children’s rights in Zimbabwe
• The administration of juvenile justice
• HIV/AIDS and children’s rights
• Combating child poverty and exploitation
• The African customary law and children’s rights
• Child victims of armed conﬂict
• The rights of children with disabilities
• Refugee children under the African Human Rights System
• Inter-country adoption and child abduction
LM609 Disability Rights Law
Persons with disabilities (PWDs) are a historically disadvantaged group. Prejudice, exclusion and
discrimination remain common experiences for PWDs. In many jurisdictions, Zimbabwe included,
the nexus between disability and exclusion is well established and maintained. Thus PWDs continue
to be sidelined in national developmental agendas and in community life. In this module, the focus
is on disability as a legal category with implications for the rights of PWDs. Students will be taught
various concepts and theories of disability rights with the aim of showing how the law constructs and
regulates the lives of PWDs. In essence, historical approaches and contemporary arguments pertaining
to disability are discussed within the context of national laws, policies and institutions addressing
disability rights. Further, regional and international laws directly and indirectly addressing disability
are explored and unpacked. Emphasis will be placed on state obligations under the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the major law that addresses PWDs
at the international level. Overall, the module seeks to provide learners with a legal, conceptual and
practical understanding of the rights of PWDs.
The module will cover the following topics:
• Conceptualization of disability rights
• Protection of disability rights under the global framework: The United Nations
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other relevant global
• State reporting, UN special procedures and the functions of the UN Committee on the
rights of PWDs
• Protection of disability rights under regional human rights frameworks: The African,
European and Inter-American Regional Human Rights Systems
• The Zimbabwean legal, policy and institutional framework for the realisation of the
rights of PWDs (and a historical trajectory of the development of the laws, policies
• Comparative perspectives (African, Arabic, European, Inter-American jurisdictions)
• Vulnerabilities and Inter-sectionalities
• PWDs and legal capacity
• Contemporary arguments in disability rights law, policy and reform
LM610 Comparative Constitutional Law
This module introduces students to the study of constitutional law through the lens of comparative
law. Students are introduced to the theoretical foundations of comparative constitutional law, and
to the rich diversity of constitutional law in the world today, aiming at a better understanding of
the working of constitutions and of the work constitutions do in different political, socio-economic
settings and historical periods. This is important particularly in the Zimbabwean context in light of
the recent constitutional developments. The module provides a foundation for a structural approach
to constitution making and constitution interpretation. By using a comparative approach, students
will examine the possibilities and limits of modern constitutions. The theoretical, methodological,
and case study dimensions of the module are concerned with the ways in which ‘similar’ topics of
constitutional law are understood, negotiated, and produced differently by different actors in and
around different constitutional systems.
The topics to be covered in this module include the following:
• Introduction to comparative constitutional law Constitutions and constitutionalism
• Comparative constitutional law methodologies
• Comparative analyses of the constitutions of the world
• Pluralism and constitutional guarantees of democracy
• Human rights in world constitutions
• The constitutional regulation of the separation of powers in world constitutions
• The executive, legislative and judicial structures in constitutional systems of the
• Judicial review models in world constitutions
LM611 Constitutional and Human Rights Litigation
This Module focuses on the central ways in which constitutional claims are actually litigated
in Zimbabwe. The bulk of the course looks at constitutional litigation, procedures, institutions,
jurisprudence, and the interface with human rights law. It further develops a framework for the
appreciation of the convergence of constitutional law and its application and enforcement of
human rights protection in Zimbabwe. Focus is also on enforcing rights in Africa after exhausting
This module examines Constitutional and Human Rights litigation inclusive of the following
• Review of human rights legislation in Zimbabwe, and African human rights system.
• Government liability for the acts of individual offcials.
• Examination and analysis of human rights remedies (remedies for constitutional
• Prospects for further developments in remedies.
• Constitutional and human rights litigation procedures and claims.
• Pleading aspects in human rights matters.
• Preparing and proving human rights claims.
• Enforcing mechanisms of human rights.
• Procedural aspects of human rights with focus on the international and regional human
LM612 Constitutional Property Law
The module is rooted on the convergence between constitutional law and property rights law.
It enables students to appreciate mainstream debates emerging from the conﬂict between
private property rights and governmental interests in land reform, land tenure reform and land
redistribution in the public interest. It further provides an opportunity for students to understand
the rights discourse in constitutional property law within a domestic regional and international
context. Topics to be covered include:
• The evolution and history of constitutional property law in Zimbabwe
• Constitutional property and the legal system
• The scope, meaning and nature of constitutional property law in Zimbabwe
• The constitutional land rights clause
• Expropriation, compulsory acquisition and compulsory deprivation
• Property Rights and the Constitutional Limitation Clause
• Land Reform legal framework- Land Acquisition, Land Redistribution/Resettlement
Land Tenure Reform
• Judicial interpretation of constitutional property in Zimbabwe
• Regional and International Perspectives
LM613 Advanced International Humanitarian Law
The relationship between international humanitarian law and international human rights law has
been a subject of discussion in recent years. This is mainly because of three important factors:
frst, many of contemporary conﬂicts straddle across both the law enforcement and armed conﬂict
paradigms, second, human rights law continues to apply in armed conﬂict wherein international
humanitarian law is the lex specialis and third, some of the military weapons that are being
developed end up being used in law enforcement situations to which international human rights
law is applicable.
The focus of this module is on contemporary international humanitarian law issues that have human
rights implications and how such issues can be understood from a humanist perspective which
considers the concept of humanity as the foundational basis of both international humanitarian
law and international human rights law.
The following are the main topics that will be covered under this module:
• The social, religious and philosophical underpinnings of humanitarian law and human
• The concept of humanity and dictates of public conscience as the foundational basis of
humanitarian law and human rights law
• Contemporary conﬂicts and challenges
• The challenge of qualifying contemporary armed conﬂicts e.g the global war on terror –
an armed conﬂict or rhetoric? A law enforcement situation? How to choose the applicable
regime, targeting of suspected terrorists – a possible violation of due process rights
• The impact of contemporary conﬂicts on social and economic rights
• Means and methods of warfare – implications of sophisticated weapons on human rights
• Advent of new sophisticated weapons – the role of human rights law in the review of new
weapons in terms of Article 36 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions.
• Unmanned weapon systems, drones, autonomous weapon systems and their implications
on the right to life and dignity. Is it in line with the right to dignity when an autonomous
weapon system or a robot makes a decision as to who dies and who lives?
• Nano-technology, cyber warfare and their ramifcations on human rights
• The dangers of the new military technologies being used in law enforcement situations –
human rights implications on the use of force and the need for human judgment.
• Post armed conﬂict and human rights
• Women, peace and security – women’s rights in the peace building process after conﬂict
– participation – why should they and how they should.
• Accountability of international humanitarian law violations as a human rights issue – the
victim’s right to remedy and the obligation of the responsible state.
Students are required to produce and submit dissertation (thesis) of between 20 000 and 25 000
words at the end of the third (fnal) semester for examination. The dissertation shall be done over
a period of two semesters. Topics for dissertation shall be carefully chosen and students are
required to defend, justify, and explain their topics in vivas before a panel composed of Faculty
members. Research proposals shall be submitted and students are expected to proceed with the
dissertation once approval to do so is granted. With regards to dissertation examination, at least one
internal and one external examiner shall be nominated by the Faculty Higher Degrees Committee
to evaluate the dissertation