Cape Town - South African prosecutors will investigate
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party for crimes against humanity for an
alleged campaign of mass rapes in Zimbabwe’s last elections, according to a
The Globe and Mail reported that the decision followed a request by Canadian activist Stephen Lewis and others.
Legal teams for Lewis's organisation, Aids-Free World, gathered hundreds of hours of testimony from 84 rape survivors in Zimbabwe who
identified more than 200 perpetrators and orchestrators in the alleged rape
It is alleged that many victims were taken to Zanu-PF's "base
camps" and used for rape and torture.
"With Zimbabwe scheduled to hold a constitutional referendum
and national election over the next few months, the decision by South Africa’s
prosecutors to investigate the rapes could be crucial in deterring further
attacks and ending the impunity of Mr Mugabe's supporters," Lewis said.
"This puts Mugabe on notice that the world is watching,"
added Lewis, who is also the former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and
the former UN ambassador on Aids in Africa.
If the investigations succeed, it would be the first time an
African government has used domestic laws to investigate another African
country under the emerging doctrine of “universal jurisdiction”.