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Justice denied

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Matabele, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    There is blood on the dictator's hands, but no court that could try him, writes David Blair.

    ROBERT MUGABE never showed any compunction about using violence against his opponents. When he faced general strikes in Zimbabwe a decade ago, it was entirely natural for him to appear on state television and warn: "I have many degrees in violence."

    In the 1970s his rebel army murdered thousands of civilians, singling out black villagers as often as white farmers. Dozens of his commanders were jailed and tortured, suspected of disloyalty.

    Yet his greatest crimes came after he won power in 1980. The massacres in the Matabeleland region of south-west Zimbabwe between 1982 and 1987 form an indelible scar on his rule.

    The violence began when he tried to secure his grip on power by crushing his black opponents. Joshua Nkomo, leader of the ZAPU party, was the key rival. Using the presence of armed dissidents as an excuse, Mr Mugabe deployed a new military unit, the Fifth Brigade, to ZAPU's stronghold in Matabeleland. This arid area is the home of Zimbabwe's minority Ndebele people. Here, the Fifth Brigade unleashed a brutal campaign of terror, burying victims in mass graves or flinging their bodies down mine shafts.

    Investigators later compiled a meticulous report, Breaking The Silence, that recorded atrocities of mind-numbing horror.

    One pregnant woman said: "They hit me in the stomach with the butt of the gun. The unborn child broke in pieces in my stomach. It was God's desire that I did not die too. The child was born afterwards, piece by piece."

    Mr Mugabe's culpability is clear. In order to be guilty of crimes against humanity, international law specifies that an individual must hold "command responsibility" for the forces carrying out atrocities. The Fifth Brigade was outside the army's command structure and its soldiers answered directly to him.

    An official inquiry appointed by the government in 1983 heard descriptions of mass shootings, beatings and the burning to death of people in huts. When it handed its report to Mr Mugabe, he immediately suppressed it.

    The death toll in the Matabeleland massacres has never been established. Breaking The Silence records 3750 murders but states that the true figure was probably twice that. Tens of thousands more suffered torture, abduction, rape or assault.

    Nothing in Mr Mugabe's later rule compared with the brutality of his actions in Matabeleland, but in their callous, random brutality, the township demolitions of winter 2005 come close.

    Mr Mugabe decided to "clean up Zimbabwe's cities". Bulldozers were sent into the poorest townships of Harare, Bulawayo and every other urban centre and ordered to destroy "illegal structures". They flattened a random selection of houses, shacks, factories, shops, garages and businesses.

    A United Nations investigation found that 700,000 people lost their homes or livelihoods during this "disastrous" campaign.

    Coming in the midst of an economic crisis, the township demolitions showed Mr Mugabe's utter contempt for Zimbabwe's urban poor. Most of them supported the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. By wrecking their homes and livelihoods, he took his pitiless revenge.

    But there is virtually no chance of Mr Mugabe facing justice. Any new government is likely to promise him a quiet retirement as part of deal for a peaceful transition of power. In any case, there is simply no court in which he could be tried.

    Only the International Criminal Court could conceivably hear a case, but it has no jurisdiction over crimes committed before its foundation in July 2002.

    While the Matabeleland massacres would be firmly outside its remit, the township demolitions would not. But nobody has yet suggested these amounted to crimes against humanity. After all, no one was killed by the bulldozers.

    So Mr Mugabe will almost certainly die without having spent any time in the dock.
     
  2. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    he'll be far easier to get at once out of the spotlight though i'd imagine
     
  3. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    He's not going anywhere.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7329682.stm
     
  4. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Did you read Ackerman's column in the Telegraph yesterday - it is on his blog.
     
  5. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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      Do I want to?
     
  6. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    My response to that disgusting toad:

    It is a shame Piers can only see black and white and no grey.  No doubt the current butcher of Harare is worse than his predecessor, but two wrongs don't exactly make a right, do they?

    My neighbour was blown up by a communist-sponsored landmine when I was 6 (1977).  We constantly drove through cowed Tribal Trust Lands (TTLs) where the innocent rural population were the playthings of both white and black forces in the Chimurenga War.

    At 10 we were there when Nkomo's tanks were gunned down at the Hilltop Motel and bodies lay in the streets until the refigerated train carriages came to serve as a temporary morgue. 

    I remember well the night when Mugabe's murderous 5th Brigade drove the ZIPRA (Matabele) veterans down Matopos Road to the concentration camps in Southern Zimbabwe at the start of the Matabele Genocide.

    And I attended the funeral after two of my schoolmates were raped and shot by by "Dissidents" who were striving for worldwide recognition of the plight of the Matabele people which never came.

    So spare me your pontificating and waffle Piers.  The world has always taken an expedient approach to the riches of that beautiful nation and will continue to do so.

    Using the downtrodden and starving people of Zimbabwe as a pedestal for your ongoing anti-liberal and racist agenda is surely a new low, even by your parlous standards.
     
  7. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    He is a tool yes. Good reply. Toads like him need to know that real people exist rather than just situations to lay his prejudices around.
     
  8. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    Since when has Ackerman been anti Liberal.

    Toad yes, but hes a Howard disciple.
     
  9. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    Have you noticed how the little turd like to respond to people's comments but doesn't allow the opportunity for people to easily respond back?

    Loser.
     
  10. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Ackerman was not anti-Liberal. He was simplifying the situation and criticizing Fraser. The associated blog shows the hatred the far-right extremists of the Libs for Fraser and anyone else who shows any compassion, conscience or signs of a heart. It is why the Libs are so stuffed as the moderating and reasonable influences in the party have been shoved aside for the zealots and the crazy religious right!  NSW is so stuffed as there is no opposition and the cuckoos continue to wreak havoc and prevent it happening.
     
  11. The Gronk

    The Gronk Well-Known Member

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    Matas is talking about small l liberalism Fro.  Liberal is the opposite to liberal.  Clear as mud i know. 

    Good reply too Matas.  It is a major point about the Libs when you see the morals of Akerman and then realise he is one of their biggest supporters and closest confidants.
     
  12. The Gronk

    The Gronk Well-Known Member

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    I replied to your post Matas. 

    Probably wont get through as I didn't exactly bend over for Piers in what I said. 
     
  13. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I know Gronk, thats why i put L in my Liberal :)

    but I think we all agree Ackerman isnt exactly yhe most impartial columnist going around.

    I still remember Vautin giving him a serve a few years back.
     
  14. The Gronk

    The Gronk Well-Known Member

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    So Matas says that Akerman is anti-liberal, he doesn't mean he is anti-Liberal!!
     
  15. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    Fro was being sarcastic Matt.
     

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