Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crimes Against Humanity

Fifteen MDC activists were abducted six weeks ago from their homes in Banket, about 70km north of Harare. They are still missing, despite a Harare high court order for the police to produce them.

Jestina Mukoko, a human rights activist and head of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), was abducted from her home, in Norton, about 40km from Harare, before dawn last Wednesday. On Friday, Beatrice Mtetwa, a human rights lawyer, was unable to find a judge to hear an urgent application to instruct the police to produce Mukoko. Mtetwa was the lawyer who represented the family of activist Tonderai Ndira, who was abducted from his home in the Mabvuku Township southeast of Harare in May. His body was found a week later and a post mortem showed that he had been killed minutes after he was dragged out of his house and shoved into an unmarked vehicle

Today the police report they are not holding Mukoko while we are told that two other ZPP members were abducted at gunpoint yesterday afternoon.

The ZPP has spent the last 10 years documenting atrocities committed by government agencies and individuals, and identifying the perpetrators. The ZPP has been doing the investigative work that the Zimbabwe Republic Police should have been doing. The abductors are surely those who now fear that they will soon be prosecuted for their crimes and are doing whatever they can to eliminate the evidence.

Yet no-one really seems to care about these latest abductions and incarcerations. They equate with the worst crimes against humanity. While Europe and America speaks out about cholera they seem silent on these crimes. Mr Mbeki is particularly silent. Perhaps he too should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting these crimes against humanity? In police parlance he could be prosecuted as an accessory after the fact. Perhaps before the fact too.

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