JOHANNESBURG — In the first, electric days after Robert Mugabe lost the opening round of Zimbabwe's presidential election, it seemed as though he might simply accept defeat and step down. His family and closest advisers were telling him that, after 28 years in office, it was time to go. He opened secret negotiations with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on a deal that would guarantee his party a share of power, provide him with a peaceful retirement and, crucially, make him immune to prosecution for crimes committed during his long and troubled tenure...The rest, here.
Over the next few weeks, the story of Mr. Mugabe's about-face gradually emerged: Stunned and embittered at his loss, he had been prepared to go, but those around him — in particular, the five generals known as "the securocrats" who oversee the armed forces, the prison service and the police — refused to let him.
"The Old Man is staying," a senior member of his ZANU-PF party told The Globe and Mail, "because I'm not ending up in The Hague."
Once again, the long arm of international law had reached into the heart of an African conflict and extinguished the possibility of a quick and peaceful resolution. Zimbabwe provides the latest evidence that a concept heralded as a way to bring justice to ordinary Africans, but driven by a largely Western-based hunger for prosecution, can instead prolong their misery.
Monday, June 16, 2008
"The Old Man is staying because I'm not ending up in The Hague."
Robert Farley has previously argued against trying dictators who step down after securing immunity from prosecution, ie Pinochet. It's not an argument I can bring myself to agree with easily, but damn if this isn't evidence in his favor: