Zim authorities face ICC threat

HARARE - South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has challenged President Cyril Ramaphosa to take urgent steps to stop the on-going crackdown against dissenting voices by Zimbabwe’s security forces.

The party also warned ominously that should Ramaphosa fail to intervene in the matter decisively, the DA would soon call upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

The ICC is an international tribunal that sits in The Hague, in the Netherlands. It has powers to prosecute individuals fingered in crimes related to wanton killings, genocide, crimes against humanity and war transgressions. 

The DA’s move comes as local rights groups are reporting widespread abuses that are allegedly being perpetrated by soldiers and police, following last week’s deadly riots which left at least 12 people dead and 78 others needing treatment for gunshot wounds.

DA shadow minister for International Relations, Stevens Mokgalapa, also warned Ramaphosa yesterday to ditch his “quiet diplomacy” and order Mnangagwa’s administration to halt on-going rights breaches by security forces.

“If Ramaphosa fails to intervene and advise Mnangagwa to stop the military clampdown on civilians, the DA will be left with no option but to approach the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider a preliminary investigation into these violations as outlined in the Rome Statute.

“The ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor is empowered by the Rome Statute to … determine whether there is sufficient evidence of crimes of sufficient gravity falling within the ICC’s jurisdiction, whether there are genuine national proceedings, and whether opening an investigation would serve the interests of justice and of the victims.

“The DA strongly believes that the human rights crisis currently obtaining in Zimbabwe is of sufficient gravity to warrant an ICC investigation because, according to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, at least 12 people have been killed, 78 shot at and 240 have faced assault, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, ” Mokgalapa said.

“President Ramaphosa and his government seem intent on sitting on their hands over the Zimbabwe crisis in much the same manner as Thabo Mbeki’s failed diplomacy.

“In 2008, people were attacked and murdered with impunity in another State-sanctioned military clampdown targeting innocent civilians after a disputed election,” Mokgalapa added.

Zimbabwe has once again hit global headlines in the wake of the trail of terror left by security forces, following last week’s protests against the recent fuel price hikes.

Human rights groups and medical doctors have told gory stories regarding the abuse of ordinary Zimbabweans, including women and schoolchildren, by soldiers during last week’s mayhem.

The DA also said it was wrong for security forces to use disproportionate force against lawbreakers, where other alternative means of controlling the situation were available.

“The DA will not stand by while Ramaphosa repeats a ‘Quiet Diplomacy 2.0’ strategy that is sure to produce the same results as (former SA president Thabo) Mbeki’s ill-thought foreign policy.

“Mbeki’s silence only served to worsen the human rights climate in Zimbabwe and led to a collapse of the economy, whose consequences are still being felt to this day, with thousands of Zimbabweans flocking to South Africa to seek economic refuge.

“Like the ANC, the Zanu PF government is quite simply the same bus filled with empty promises being driven by a different driver who has no power to steer the party in the right direction.

“The people of Zimbabwe were promised a new dawn when Mugabe was ousted, much like South Africa when Jacob Zuma stepped down. Both have proven to be myths,” Mokgalapa charged.

“The era of comradeship between Ramaphosa’s ANC government and Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF government while human rights are being trampled on with impunity is over.

“President Ramaphosa is faced with an easy choice, either he intervenes to stop civilian abuse by the military in Zimbabwe or his government will be one of the parties that will answer to the ICC on why they failed to act to stop the human rights violations,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government has denied that the security forces are behind the crackdown and instead blamed “deserters and imposters” for the abuses.


Comments (18)

the DA boy is suffering from memory loss. its not even a decade since SA gunned down 47 people at one go.

jonde - 22 January 2019

So are you justifying the crackdown which has resulted in our total loss with respect to international goodwill?

Bob is Best - 22 January 2019

we will support you DA and help gather evidence

david - 22 January 2019

yet u hve failed to do anything about Xenophobic attacks in SA yet alone e Marikana miners slaughtering u dont talk abt ICC.

derick tsimba - 22 January 2019

DA which has the white man's interests cannot lecture us on what is happening in Zimbabwe. In any case, Zimbabwe did not ratify the so-called ICC Rome Statute. Stephens Mokgalapa is just a pawn in that party kuya kunonzi kuitiswa. I wonder where you are getting all that death toll. Are these racists and their niggas care about properties these thugs destroyed. They must just concern themselves with what is happening in SA.

John Sigauke - 22 January 2019

The DA has to deal with stubborn Boers first before they peep across the Limpopo. Native South Africans are way too impoverished in a country with so much wealth.

Matii? - 22 January 2019

I here MARIKANA, MARIKANA and MARIKANA in the background!

willo - 22 January 2019

@willo (myself), My enghlishi is noti so gudhu I am a Zulu!, thus we use 'here' to mean 'hear

willo - 22 January 2019

DA=UANC

Mwana Wevhu - 22 January 2019

We all know what the Democratic Alliance of SA stands, it mainly concerned with advancing white minority ideologies, continued suppression of black empowerment, its against everything that says black South Africans are independent. So commenting on Zimbabwean issues that they have no iota of evidence on is simple being too ambitious, why didnt they call for the ICC wen the South African white capitalists shot mine workers point blank in Marikana. DA should shut up n mind its own party business, and someone should tell them For Their Information that like America which is not a signatory to the ICC, it did not ractify the ICC statutes, n therefore it is not bound by its laws. Moreso the ICC is a western tool used to intimidate African leaders, its a sorry excuse for justice. The DA should 1st show us one western country that has ever been dragged to the ICC, NONE..yet they are the biggest offenders. Pres Ciril Ramaphosa has already called for the removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe, which is a huge human right violation.

Prosperity Mzila - 22 January 2019

Don't shoot the messenger just because you don't like the message. 12 people in Zimbabwe have been killed and hundreds injured by the army and ZRP , this is a fact. This was done with an explicit knowledge and approval of both ED and his ignorant and ill controlled Vice President Chiwenga. This is also a fact. Killing innocent citizens who are guilty of nothing more than just wanting a better life for their children is a crime against humanity and this is a fact too. Both Mnangagwa and Chiwenga must be extradited to The Hague and tried for crimes against humanity.

Ken Sharpe - 23 January 2019

The DA is justified with its call, the world is now one big village, its not only inhumane but very primitive to think that you can maim you kids and wife and don't expect your neighbour to intervene. The zanupf regime has for long been fervent applicants to the Hague its a mystery their application has not been accepted...well not for long now as it has been received and being processed. Yes investigations will start from prior independence CCJP has massive evidence. Continued failures in Zim are now a very serious threat to the region's peace and stability.

Sinyo - 23 January 2019

Perhaps the DA is not the best party to refer human rights abuses of the Zim govt to ICC, but they are part of the SA govt in parliament and Zimbabwe asked for USD1.2b recently from the SA govt....so in that light they have a point. If the current Zim govt put the basics in order (HR, fair trial & prosecution etc) surely the chances of getting financial aid would increase would it not? There seems no gain in blaming an observer on the ground who has pointed out that a pilot in a plane in which you're a passenger is fast asleep is there? We can score points but it is Zim which is burning in all sectors.

Sagitarr - 23 January 2019

Rubbish .People were massacred in Marikana and the DA is doing nothing There is Xenophobia in SA what is the DA doing.The Jo-burg DA major is terrorising foreigner in Jo-burg and the are quiet.CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME MR MAIMANE.OPEN UP YOU BRAIN BEFORE YOU OPEN UP YOU MOUTH

Adam - 23 January 2019

Thats the problem with African 'leaders'. They just cannot or do not have the balls to criticize their peers when they are going off the rails.

Bill Hinch - 23 January 2019

To my surprise,the majority of the commentator s are not taking the blame on those who looted the and burn down Infrastructures....they take the blame to the State Security Forces who were called to stop the looting and burning down of Infrastructures...

silungisani ndlovu - 23 January 2019

Silungisa Ndlovu, since when did the law say security forces must kill those caught looting or burning down structures?

Widzo - 23 January 2019

2 Law officers killed by protesters.... non of these condemners seem to be worried about the officers yet they are humans.

Mu - 23 January 2019

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