International court to sit on cases involving Zimbabwe’s mass rapes

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s indefatigable 89-year-old president, is preparing his people for an election in the next few months but results may be a departure from the scandalous sleigh-rides to success he has enjoyed in the past.

One reason: court actions being launched in the courts of South Africa, his usually supportive neighbor. They address the hundreds of rapes and assaults perpetrated by his goons in previous polling exercises. Requested by Canada’s Stephen Lewis, in his role as UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, the bid for trial received unusually prompt affirmation from Pretoria last month. Much of the evidence and testimony comes from brutalized Zimbabwean victims of his cruel tenure of power.

It will be a finger in the eye for Mugabe particularly, because it comes at a time when he has just called for a pre-election referendum. This is his quest to win endorsement of a new constitution that has been agreed on by all the main parties.

Clearly it is a precursor to the general and presidential elections ahead. While Mugabe has pulled his country out of the Commonwealth, hope remains among much of the populous that Zimbabwe will return to the fold as the president passes from power.

— Murray Burt

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