The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, Augustine Makgonatsothle, told the media that the International Criminal Court, which was established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes against humanity, has no jurisdiction over Zimbabwe because it is not a signatory to the Rome Statutes that govern the court.
Makgonatsothle was responding to a question posed by Namibian Human rights activist, Phil Nangoloh, who had asked what Botswana was doing to refer Zimbabwe to the ICC for the crimes against humanity.
“Zimbabwe is not a party to the Rome Statute so the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over events which have taken place in that country,” he said. “For the ICC’s Prosecutor to initiate an investigation in these circumstances would require either a referral by the United Nations Security Council or the acceptance of ICC jurisdiction by the government of Zimbabwe.”
Makgonatsotlhe said: “The situation in Zimbabwe is a political issue that should be solved politically.”
In addition, he said Botswana is in support of the stance adopted by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Zimbabwe.
“The bearing that SADC adopted is good and as Botswana we support it,” he said.
Last week, the SADC Troika announced that Zimbabwe had been removed from their agenda because “the situation in Zimbabwe had normalized”. Makgonatsotlhe added that Botswana and the rest of SADC countries should help Zimbabwe implement the GPA. He said the GPA needs to be implemented and create a situation conducive for elections, adding that “the prevailing atmosphere of fear and intimidation in Zimbabwe is not conducive for elections”.
There have been several calls that President Robert Mugabe and his lieutenants should be brought before the ICC for crimes against humanity. This has also led to speculation that Mugabe and his security forces are refusing to cede power because they are afraid they would be hauled before the court, which is based in The Hague in the Netherlands.
Lately the Government of Botswana reiterated her position in support of the warrant of arrest issued against Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi by the ICC. Botswana has pledged to continue to uphold basic human and political rights and supports ICC in carrying out its mandate to apprehend the Libyan leader.