Harare - A white judge has resigned from Zimbabwe's High Court, the fifth to leave the country's courts in a year, the state-controlled Herald reported on Thursday.

The Herald said Justice David Bartlett had handed in his resignation to President Robert Mugabe on Monday and will stop working in March, paving the way for the country's courts to be more "African".

Bartlett's resignation follows the recent resignations of Justices James Devitte and Michael Gillespie (August), while Supreme Court Judge Nicholas McNally and the internationally respected Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay retired.

Mugabe's government had accused the country's white judges, and some of their black colleagues, of colluding with minority whites who face eviction from their farms under a controversial land resettlement exercise.

Critics in turn have accused the government of packing the Supreme Court bench with its supporters after the appointment of a new chief justice and three judges they believe are sympathetic to the ruling party.

Last week a widely respected Supreme Court judge, Justice Simbarashe Muchechetere, died from malaria. - Sapa-AFP