Mugabe must stand trial


JOHANNESBURG - The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) is greatly alarmed by recent press reports that President Robert Mugabe is secretly negotiating for immunity from prosecution as a condition for leaving office. The organisation, which documents and litigates on human

rights abuses that have occurred to Zimbabweans is gravely concerned that national, regional and international bodies are not taking action to prosecute Mugabe and his supporters for atrocities committed during his 26-year rule.
The reports about secret discussions to grant Mugabe immunity are not only disturbing and shocking, but if true, a callous insult to those who have been killed, raped and tortured under Mugabe’s brutal regime. ZEF is especially concerned that if Mugabe is allowed to escape prosecution in the manner of other dictators like Obote, Amin, Mengistu and others, this will undermine the positive precedent on the African Continent set by the recent arrest of Charles Taylor who is awaiting trial for crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and other serious international crimes.
Instead of discussing granting this tyranny immunity, ZEF is calling for either the establishment of a Special Court to prosecute Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his lieutenants, or that the United Nations Security Council takes an initiative that will see Mugabe prosecuted at the International Criminal Court.
More than 20 000 people killed in Midlands and Matebeleland during Mugabe’s onslaught against an ethnic minority will be turning in their mass graves if Mugabe is given immunity upon leaving office. I know hundreds of supporters of the opposition and white commercial farmers who were killed between 1999 and 2006 whose souls are crying out for justice. Close to a million have also been tortured and several other millions displaced under operation clean out filth.
To allow Mugabe to escape with such atrocities violates the principle of accountability and would allow impunity and future repetition that will encourage a vicious cycle of dictatorship on the African continent. Such a scenario will ensure that Africans remain third class citizens in the context of global development and should not be encouraged.

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