By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
The breaking news yesterday was all about the arrest of Ratko Mladic, the once high ranking Bosnian war crimes suspect. He is accused of the massacre of nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, amongst other heinous crimes. Europeans have been at the forefront of the hunt for Mladic and will no doubt expedite his extradition to The Hague for trial and due process. The world will be a better place.
Well, not quite. Mysteriously, those same Europeans, who relentlessly pursued this notorious war criminal, were busy protecting yet another reprehensible felon and human rights villain in securing his asylum in the United Kingdom under the European Human Rights Convention. Justice David Archer, so gullibly, accepted that a former Zimbabwean intelligence agent and self confessed torturer, come political murderer, would be in danger if not given asylum and compelled to return to his home land.
This is not only ludicrous to the core, but a potentially large obstacle to human rights justice. One wonders what Justice Archer’s ruling would be in the case of on an extradition to Zimbabwe of an accused person for crimes against humanity and murder. Bearing in mind that Zimbabwe still has, and may impose, the death penalty for such crimes as murder and rape, would the learned judge uphold the extradition? Perhaps not. Simply, the offender would be in danger of losing his life. Thus justice would never be done.
The point is that one day, and many hope in the not too distant future, Zimbabwe may well see regime change, despite the denials and pathetic complicity of SADC leaders supporting and upholding a now unpopular elements of the current regime. Such are the trials and tribulations of Africa, all is fair in African politics, including, apparently, the massacre of innocent civilians and political opponents, or at least those perceived to be.
What the Europeans are saying is reprieve those who should face justice in Africa, for their lives might be in danger. This is a little ripe, when NATO forces are pounding Libyan shores intent on the life destruction of Muammar Gaddafi, who, ironically and somewhat sick humorously, is being indicted for war crimes, if he survives.
Referring to Mladic’s arrest, Prime Minister David Cameron is quoted as saying,
“This should send a signal to all war criminals everywhere. In the end we will get you.”
Well Zimbabweans are certainly receiving mixed messages here. Some feel that certain people should answer to alleged crimes against humanity perpetrated in Zimbabwe, including the massacre of some 20,000 people in Matabeleland and, more recently, the dastardly acts of wonton murder and torture again opposition politicians. Yet there can be no justice if there is any danger to the accused. Many wonder if justice will ever be seen to be done. One cannot help feeling that certain Africa leaders are sniggering with mirth in their palatial corridors, rather than taking heed of the Britannic leader’s threats. They know they are protected from facing the wrath for their gross violations.