Zimbabwe: Mugabe’s Zanu-PF to face ICC

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A United States based Aids advocacy group is planning in August to hand over what it says is evidence on politically motivated rapes committed by President Mugabe’s supporters two years ago to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

AIDS-Free World said in a statement that soldiers loyal to the veteran leader aided by violent youth militia from his ZANU PF party committed “systematic rape” to intimidate opposition supporters during violence-marred polls in 2008.

“AIDS-Free World continues to advocate for action at the highest levels of international organizations. Next month we will speak with officials of the International Criminal Court,”

The group claims that in the months after their brutal rapes, 37 percent of the women they interviewed tested positive for HIV. It said the alleged perpetrators of more than 380 cases committed during a “carnage of rape” that started in the run-up to Zimbabwe’s disputed presidential election run-off continue to freely roam the streets while their victims face the trauma of disease and broken families.

“The culture of impunity in Zimbabwe, so entrenched that the actions of the President himself promote rape as an effective political strategy, helps spread HIV,” said AIDS-Free World.

It warned of another looming carnage as Zimbabwe prepares to hold polls in 2011 and called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to use their collective muscle to rein in Mugabe before more innocent people are killed or raped.

“Intense pressure from SADC and the AU (African Union) could bring Mugabe to his knees. It is unacceptable for the African community, knowing full well what has happened and will happen in Zimbabwe, to stand by passively as Mugabe gears up for another campaign of rape and terror to hold onto power,” the group said.

Top army and police commanders are credited with keeping Mugabe in power after waging a ruthless campaign of violence in 2008 to force then opposition MDC-T party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from a second round presidential poll that analysts had strongly tipped the former trade unionist to win.

Tsvangirai had outpolled Mugabe in the first round ballot but failed to achieve outright victory to avoid the second round run-off poll.

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