The International Criminal Court (ICC) is reported to have opened a criminal case against President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government for the killing of unarmed protestors on August 1, 2018.
At least 6 people died when the government deployed the military which used live bullets to quell a protest which had turned violent.
According to a team of human rights defenders, data science experts and researchers Team Pachedu: “Case number OTP-CR-174/19 has been opened at the International Criminal Court implicating Mr. E. Mnangagwa in the murder of innocent civilians by the military on August 1, 2018.”
The ICC, the world’s first permanent international criminal court, was established on July 1 2002, the date on which its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, came into force.
However, while Zimbabwe signed the Rome Statute on 17 July 1998 the country never ratified the treaty that established the International Criminal Court.
This means that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over Zimbabwe unless it has the approval of the United Nations Security Council.
However, Russia and China will likely veto any action on Zimbabwe as they have done in the past.
The ICC has also received a lot of criticism over perceived double standards. It has been accused of turning a blind eye to atrocities committed by western countries while focusing its attention on Africa.
Despite that, the court also failed to take action against ousted Sudan president, Omar Al Bashir.
The ICC can exercise its jurisdiction only over state parties, and even then, only if the state is unable or unwilling to prosecute locally. To date, 120 countries are state parties to the Rome Statute. Thirty-two countries have signed, but not ratified it.
Zimbabwe is one of them, and thus not subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC. Zimbabwe is also one of those African countries frequently associated with politically motivated violent incidents: police brutality, raids, illegal detention, and torture.
More to follow…