Mugabe may face prosecution

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe may face prosecution if he loses the forthcoming poll as the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has said it will establish a Truth and Justice Commission if it wins.

The commission to investigate human rights abuses in the country since Independence would recommend the prosecution of the perpetrators of human rights violations, the party said.In its policy document to be launched alongside the party’s manifesto in Mutare tomorrow, the MDC said there have been four main periods of gross human rights abuse in the country perpetrated by Mugabe’s government. The MDC said the commission would investigate the 1980-87 Gukurahundi campaign, the 2000 land reform programme that resulted in the destruction of 10 000 farming properties, the 2005 clean-up operation, and the “violence and destruction of property during the struggle to restore democracy in Zimbabwe between 1998 and 2008.

“In each of these four periods of intense political suppression, thousands of criminal acts were committed, hundreds of thousands experienced human rights abuses, and even the death of loved ones, or suffered physical injury of one kind or another,” said the policy document.

The party said it was committed to dealing with the needs of the victims of the four instances in a holistic and comprehensive way.

“By this means, it is hoped to give those affected by the abuse of their rights the satisfaction of knowing that the truth about what happened has been revealed and that the culprits have been brought to justice in some way,” the MDC said. “At the same time it is intended to provide a form of compensation for fixed property losses during these episodes of abuse.”

The MDC said the commission would be in place three months after assuming office.

“In the event that those identified as being responsible for these human rights abuses and the destruction of personal assets and property do not themselves, on a voluntary basis, offer to come before the commission to tell their side of the story, the commission may, at its discretion, direct the police to investigate the case to determine the potential for a criminal prosecution and, if appropriate, to submit a docket to the prosecuting authority in the area where the incident occurred,” the policy document said.

Once in the court, the party said, the judiciary would deal with the cases in the normal way and under the laws of Zimbabwe.

The party said it would establish special compensation courts and the commission may direct that a court attend to the establishment of the degree and value of any financial prejudice that may have incurred in any specific case.

“Compensation will be restricted to the cost of any medical procedures that might have been necessitated by the abuse at the time, any consequential costs, and any future prejudice arising from the abuse,” the party said.

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