If World War II history has taught us anything, it is that the crimes of repressive and fascist governments will be catalogued and adjudicated after those governments have been removed, whether those governments like it or not , and Zimbabwe is no exception.The rot in Zimbabwe did not happen over night but is the culmination of decades of repressive and systemic misrule. The United Nations Security council must invoke Article 39 powers to evaluate the current situation in todays Zimbabwe.
Article 39 of the UN Charter reads in pertinent part:
The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.
Every system can be compared to Nazi Germany, but it is in the manner of authoritarian rule coupled with the use of State machinery that suggests a true comparison. Take Zimbabwe for example, last week the government threatened to use the army to fight internet opinions of the government classifying them as "Cyber warfare." It is a blatant act of racism for Nations to suggest that a black government's assault on its own black people does not rise to the infraction of current International law as stated by the Geneva Convention and the United Nations Charter. Zimbabwe is still a member of the United Nations, and has ratified Protocols I, II and III of the Geneva Convention that demand it follows International laws and principles in times of war and unrest. Unless Zimbabwe has abrogated its international treaties, criticism of its government is legal under the private rights of free speech, as long as that speech does not incite violence or overthrowing the government.
Zimbabweans, who have legal standing, should present their case to the United Nations Security council, under clause 39. Ask the Security Counsel to address these violations of International law, i.e. arrests, torture, beatings, disappearances and assassinations; to quote Nelson Mandela describing the Apartheid system in 1961, " the savage attack on an unarmed and defenceless people."
The United Nations library is a hive of resolutions condemning Apartheid in South Africa; Ian Smith in Rhodesia, and yet there is not a single resolution that condemns Mugabe and Zanu PF's authoritarian and destructive rule. Has international law and the community of Nations failed Zimbabwe? I am now not convinced that the fight for Apartheid was a principled fight, but garnered international attention because of concern for the white minority who reside in South Africa. If the international community, and the United Nations as its torch bearer, condemned South Africa on principle, what has happened to those principles; why don't they apply to Zimbabwe under Mugabe?
War crimes have occurred in Zimbabwe and I challenge anyone who disputes this to interview Zimbabweans in South Africa, the two million who have run away from Mugabe in fear of death. Interview them, and don't take my word for it. A British documentary by Panorama documenting massacres and torture in 80s Zimbabwe does exist. As well as a detailed report by the Catholic Commission in 1997. Mugabe's war crimes are not limited to Gukura- Hundi, Muramba-Tswina, Chiadza affair, the rape of Judith Garfield Todd, are just a few examples, but are an ongoing concern to all who believe in the equality of human rights and the application of international law regardless of the color of the victim's skin or tribe. When Robert Mugabe was imprisoned by the Rhodesian (white) government in then Rhodesia, it was known where he was being held. When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in South Africa - it was in Robben Island. But the government of Zimbabwe does not see the need to tell the world where is Itai Dzamara being held. Mind you a black government! The assassination of General Rex Ndongo, and the disappearance of Itai Dzamara, are some of the more famous recent human rights cases, but many others are on record. As the say in the local Shona language arikupi vhanaDzamara sawira? Where is Itai Dzamara my friend?
There should be no racism in Human rights and Laws of War situations : when the victims are black they should receive as much international attention as when they are white. Racism is a serious concern here, because when the land grabs occurred in Zimbabwe, because the victims were white, there was international attention and condemnation - now ordinary Zimbabweans are arrested and beaten; they disappear and no one raises a finger because they are black.
The issue is simple, if Zimbabweans are asking for a change of government so strong that the government can no longer govern then that government cannot ignore the people! To address the wishes of its citizens (not subjects) the government would have to enter into a transitional arrangement or early election arrangement in the interests of peace and security.Zimbabwe, like Germany during world war II is now a security State: with a secret police, death squads, a presidential guard and an army that is getting ready to enforce "Cyber Laws." Whatever this mean? Where in the world does an army enforce "Cyber laws" outside of judicial orders, where in the world is freedom of speech Cyber warfare? - In an authoritarian government, at war with its citizens. In the past, we have seen fascist States burn books, bomb newspaper offices, exile opposition; now we enter the age of laptop and iPhone confiscation by the army under the guise of Cyber Warfare.To those Zimbabweans in the security apparatus in Zimbabwe. My message is clear, that you cannot uphold a system this repressive to your own people and cry "superior orders," when the day of reconning comes - the day when an International court addresses the war crimes of Mugabe. The defense of "superior orders," does not result in innocence but a diminished state of criminal culpability - you go from Murder I to Murder II -- you don't walk away from your crimes a free person because of a superior orders excuse. You must stand with God, stand with the truth, stand with justice and stand with your own mothers and fathers. Who is more important your own mother or Mugabe?It is this, and the many disappearances, and arrest of ordinary Zimbabweans that point to a Nazi type of government. It is no longer a joke that Mugabe is another Hitler: he is Africa's Hitler, second only to the late Emperor Bokassa.Ken Tecumseh Sibanda is a South African (Transkei) born American Constitutional attorney, known affectionately as “Tecumseh,” for his writings and articles. He has written for numerous publications, in the US and South Africa, and including for “The Jerusalem Post,” in Israel.He is the author of the book: International Law: Peace Accords, Tovakare Press (2015).
He has received numerous awards and citations including in 2000 at International House, for “extending International cooperation.”