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ICC must prosecute Mugabe youths' rape campaign

By Sapa-AFP | 2010-07-22 07:20:13.0 | COMMENTS [ 6 ]

Witness statements by rape victims, vetted by a team of international lawyers, suggest the ruling ZANU-PF unleashed “sexual terror” against women who supported the Movement for Democratic Change

VIENNA - The International Criminal Court must probe alleged crimes against humanity after Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s youth militia launched a campaign of rape during 2008 elections, a campaign group says.

Witness statements by rape victims, vetted by a team of international lawyers, suggest the ruling ZANU-PF unleashed “sexual  terror” against women who supported the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), it said.

The charges were made by AIDS-Free World, an advocacy group co-founded by the UN’s former special envoy for AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis, after an 18-month investigation.

A legal dossier will be handed to the ICC in The Hague next month, in the hope that the court’s prosecutor can launch proceedings for crimes against humanity, Lewis said.

“What we are calling for collectively is serious intervention at  every level,” Lewis said at a press conference at the world AIDS forum in Vienna.

He urged the UN Security Council, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union to end their “criminally delinquent” silence.

“We know as we are sitting here that it’s going to happen again,” said Lewis.

“There’s not the slightest question that Mugabe has his youth corps and his war veterans, and they are ready to do it again and the world is silent. How is it possible that he’s allowed to get away with it?”    The probe, Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe,  was released in Johannesburg last December.

It detected a surge in rape ahead of the first round of Zimbabwe’s blood-stained presidential elections that reached a crescendo before the second round.

So far, 70 personal accounts, checked by lawyers who made six trips to southern Africa and supported by certified affidavits, have been collected, AIDS-Free World said.

In 300 hours of testimony, victims identified 241 men who raped them, and estimated the total acts of rape to be 380.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg, as many other rape victims are too fearful — or too sceptical of getting any redress against their attackers — to come forward, said the report.

“Every victim supported the MDC, and in every attack the perpetrators were clearly identifiable as ZANU-PF youth militia or war veterans,” the term for former fighters in the war against white minority rule, AIDS-Free World said.

Activists were raped in front of their families or abducted by ZANU-PF youths who marched them to militia bases or camps in the countryside, where they were repeatedly assaulted, sometimes over days, the document said.

“Many women were forced to watch their husbands, children and parents killed or tortured before they were raped,” it said.

“Nine of the women believe they were infected by HIV/AIDS as a result of the rapes, and an additional 17 women also tested positive in the months following the rapes, raising the possibility  that their rapists infected them. Ten women reported that they became pregnant by their rapists.”   

During their ordeal, the ZANU-PF men repeatedly accused the women of being “sell-outs,” of “giving the country back to the whites” or being the “whores” or “puppets” of MDC candidate Morgan Tsangvirai.

Police were indifferent to the few women who had the courage to file a complaint, and not a single rapist has been prosecuted, it said.

The MDC said more than 300 people were killed in pre-election violence.

Mugabe claimed victory in the disputed elections, which eventually led to a unity government. It is meant to draft a new constitution that will pave the way to fresh elections, but the reform process is running about a year behind schedule.



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yah neh, m lost of words, people in Zimbabwe r suffering and still SADC nd African Union fail to intervene, for how long should this people suffer until SADC and the AU intervene and call the "old man" and his bunch of hooligans to order, 4 as long as Mugabe is still in power there will be no unity nor peace in zimbabwe.......its tym for international organisations to assemble and advocate for the rights of zimbabwean citizens............i jst wish Mugabe can have the sense of humanity and sympathy towards his people..........He is destroying the country that he Liberated.........shame!!! GOD save Zimbabwe!

2010-07-22 09:01:01.0 | 0 replies

Yes, why are we doing nothing - and its right next door to us

2010-07-22 12:47:19.0 | 0 replies

Mugabe is not a rapist, why should ICC prosecute him, the old man hands are clean. Forces of darkness a emerging everday but Mugabe will never surrender. Africa belongs to the African & Europe belong to the Europeans.

2010-07-22 13:34:29.0 | 0 replies

Let the people of Zimbabwe solve their problems without any undue external interference. A Zimbabwean problem only requires a Zimbabwean solution.

2010-07-22 13:36:17.0 | 0 replies

For the last 2 comments - This is basic human right's abuse. South Africa is a signatory to many international treaties outlawing such acts.

The argument about external interference doesn't hold water: We are obliged to do something, In fact; expected to do something. We are propping up the regime next door with electricity, food, aid, funds .... etc... it is our problem; we are lending legitimacy to these barbarous acts and sanctioning them by supporting the regime.

....They are falling apart; will accept our donations and help to keep them afloat; but please don't offer any guidance on what they can and should be doing differently....

Zimbabwe is unable to sort out it's own problems, when the police, military, war vets, ZANU-PF YL, and a large portion of the judicial system are all controlled by 1 source.

Unfortunately for Mr Mugabe the buck stops with him when it comes to prosecution.
I hope they can tie up all the loose ends on this and actually get the ICC to prosecute.

2010-07-22 14:31:11.0 | 0 replies

Mugabe might be hailed as a hero in certain quarters, but he is nothing other than an educated thug. He really needs to answer for his sins, for his human rights violations and for reducing the once-thriving economy of Zimbabwe to tatters. Only once Africa has rejected Mugabe and his kind will the true African Rennaissance be able to begin.

2010-07-22 16:43:06.0 | 0 replies