Operation Murambatsvina and Crimes Against Humanity-Exploring the Prospect of Accountability

University essay from Lunds universitet/Mänskliga rättigheter

Abstract: In May of 2005 the government of Zimbabwe initiated an eviction campaign called Operation Murambatsvina which rendered approximately 700,000 Zimbabweans homeless. The international community condemned the action and a UN Special Envoy was sent to assess the scope and extent of the Operation. This envoy, as well as numerous NGO reports, touched upon the subject of a ?crimes against humanity? charge for the responsible actors. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether or not there is a possibility to hold the responsible individuals accountable for crimes against humanity. The legal basis and definition of the concept of crimes against humanity used, lies in article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. There are two relevant subsections of article 7, namely paragraphs 7(1)(c) and 7(1)(d), that may be applicable in this case. In investigating if a breach of the provisions of these paragraphs has occurred in Operation Murambatsvina, I found that enough support could be found for it to be legitimate for an ICC prosecutor to initiate a formal investigation.

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