Calls for prosecution of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and co-conspirators for genocide
Washington, DC and Capetown, South Africa
16 September 2010
Genocide Watch, Chair of the International Campaign to End Genocide, based in Washington, DC and Capetown, South Africa, today called for prosecution of President Robert Mugabe and other Zimbabwean leaders for genocide and crimes against humanity for the “Gukurahundi,” the mass murder of over 20,000 Matabele citizens of Zimbabwe in 1983 and 1984.
“There is no statute of limitations for genocide or crimes against humanity,” said Dr. Gregory Stanton, President of Genocide Watch. “We campaigned for over thirty years to bring the leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia to justice for genocide and crimes against humanity, and they are finally on trial. We call upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a full investigation of the Gukurahundi, with the aim of establishing a mixed UN — Zimbabwean Tribunal to put Mugabe and his co-perpetrators on trial for their crimes. They think they have gotten away with mass murder. It is time to end such impunity in Zimbabwe.”
Genocide is a special crime against humanity, because it must be intentionally carried out against a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. The Gukurahundi meets the definition of genocide because it was carried out by the North-Korean trained, exclusively Shona Fifth Brigade under President Mugabe and it targeted ethnic Matabele people. Shona youth militias, the notorious “green bombers,” also participated in the genocide. These militias still exist, like neo-Nazi groups, and conduct terror campaigns against opponents of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF in election campaigns. General Constantine Chiwanga, Commander of the Zimbabwe Army, and Sidney Sekeramayi, Minister of Defense, were senior officers directly involved in the 1983-84 genocide.
Because the Gukurahundi occurred before establishment of the International Criminal Court, the ICC would not have jurisdiction over the genocide. But a mixed UN – Zimbabwean Criminal Tribunal could be created, like the one established in Cambodia, to try Mugabe and other leaders of the genocide. That would require defeat of the ZANU-PF regime in the next election. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has stolen the last two elections, but may lose the next one since they have destroyed Zimbabwe’s economy and have many opponents among both Shona and Matabele groups. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, President of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, is himself Shona.
Detailed reports on the Gukurahundi published by the Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace in 1997 thoroughly document the Gukurahundi genocide, and subsequent reports by the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights of the African Union have strongly condemned President Mugabe for abusing his people’s human rights “ with impunity.”
“The time for justice has come,” said Dr. Stanton. “Mugabe’s reign of terror is near its end.”
For Immediate release.
Contact: Dr. Gregory H. Stanton
President, Genocide Watch
Washington, DC 20044