ZIMBABWE will soon ratify the protocol on the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, a development that could pave the way for its aggrieved citizens to seek justice at the regional court.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) chairperson Elasto Mugwadi confirmed the impending development, saying the African Court should be supported as Africa’s replacement for the International Criminal Court which has failed in its task of delivering justice in an impartial manner.
“The country is going to be ratifying the protocol very soon. We need to ratify it. The African Court is the practical or implementing arm of the African Commission of People and Human rights,” said Mugwadi.
“Any matters of complaint or discord will be settled by the African Court. And we believe it will be the natural replacement of the ICC which has not been applying the Rome Statute in an equitable manner.”
Mugwadi accused the ICC of selective justice saying former American and British leaders George Herbert Bush and Anthony Blair should have been tried over human rights violations across the world including the imposition of sanctions which “have caused much suffering in Zimbabwe.”
“One would have thought the two would have been brought before the ICC if it was a fair forum treating everyone fairly in terms of United Nations principles where countries are supposed to be equal but this has not happened. Therefore the African Court can replace the ICC and bring before it its own African leaders who go astray,” he said.
A government source, however, told the Zimbabwe Independent that the country had been selected to host this year’s conference of the African Court and the decision to ratify has “therefore been taken to avoid an awkward situation where the country hosts a court whose protocol it has not ratified”.
“Zimbabwe will host next year’s conference of the African Court and as such it would be an embarrassment to do so without ratifying the protocol that led to the establishment of the court in the first place,” said an official familiar with the developments.