"Mnangagwa Unlikely To Be Arrested Over Susan Mutami Rape Allegations" - Legal Expert
Legal experts have said President Emmerson Mnangagwa is unlikely to face justice while in office over rape allegations by Australia-based Susan Mutami
Now (33), Mutami filed rape charges in Australia against the 79-year-old leader claiming that she was raped when she was a 15-year-old Form three high school student in Kwekwe.
In a response to an enquiry by ZimLive about Mutami’s report, Matt Adams, senior media and public affairs advisor (Queensland Police), said Queensland Police will liaise with, and refer any inquiries to “international jurisdictions”, meaning the case will now be dealt with by the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol).
However, a Harare lawyer who preferred to not be named because of the sensitivity of the matter told NewZimbabwe.com that Mnangagwa is protected from prosecution by the Constitution in Zimbabwe, while abroad he would have diplomatic immunity. Said the legal expert:
Australian police do not have jurisdiction over an alleged crime committed in Zimbabwe by a Zimbabwean to a Zimbabwean.
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Besides, the president is also protected under diplomatic immunity and processes in international tribunals that Zimbabwe is part of are the ones capable of clothing another country with jurisdiction but that on its own is very complex.
Mnangagwa is protected from arrest by Article 29 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR). It reads:
He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving state shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity.
While the inviolability of diplomatic immunity can be waived, this would need to be at the request of the suspect’s home country which, in the case of Mnangagwa, would be unlikely while he is in power.
The legal expert added that the consequence of the filing of charges against Mnangagwa at this stage is mostly political embarrassment and public shame.
George Charamba, the official spokesman for Mnangagwa, dismissed the rape allegations as “gossip.” He said Mnangagwa would not be commenting.