Commentators have questioned the authenticity of the letter purportedly coming from Hague International Criminal Court (ICC) which is a response to some Malawi rights activists who are demanding the induction of some opposition and rights defenders on post-election violence.
The letter is signed by the court’s second vice president Judge Cuno Tarfusser but the current second VP of the ICC is Marc Perrin de Brichambaut. The signatory of the letter, Cuno Tarfusser, was second VP from 2012 to 2015 which has raised suspicion on credibility of the letter.
Henry Kachaje, a Malawian economist, took to Facebook to say the activists have forged the signature of Tarfusser.
“Forging a signature of a retred ICC judge is a serious offence and indication of serious desperations,” Kachale wrote.
At least 10 human rights defenders have written the International Criminal Court (ICC) to question Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, UTM president Saulos Chilima and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) officials Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence over the post-election violence following the anti-Jane Ansah protests.
According to the letter, ICC assures the Malawi activists that their matter shall be dealt with by the ICC on return of the court from recess from August 12, 2019.
But governance expert, Makhumbo Munthali, also told Nyasa Times that purported signatory already served his term until 2015.
“ICC has a new Veep. Besides, the signature is fake and the letter doesn’t have factual contents about Malawi ratification of ICC Statute.
“The letter claims Malawi ratified the Rome Statute of ICC 2009. This is false. Malawi signed and ratified the Statute in 1999 and 2002 respectively,” Munthali observed.
According to Munthali, the letter might certainly be the work of propaganda machinery of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) “ aimed at diverting the public attention from real issues pertaining to the quest for electoral justice” being championed by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and the opposition.
He said the letter by the activists – believed to be bankrolled by DPP – shows lack of ignorance of the mandate of ICC as well as its jurisdiction.
Munthali said the allegations being levelled against the HRDC leadership and opposition are completely outside the ICC crimes.
“I doubt if the ICC Prosecutor would find such allegations admissible. Besides, most the issues relating to the elections are currently being addressed by the domestic Courts inclusive cases of violence during demonstrations are within Police attention.
“Informed by the fact that ICC functions as a Court of last resort on specific crimes under its jurisdiction as clearly spelt out in the Rome Statute of ICC, it is likely that these allegations will be dismissed on 2 grounds: a). That they don’t qualify as one of the four crimes of concern under ICC jurisdiction b). That these issues are already being handled at domestic level,” said Munthali.
He continued:“The ICC does not work on ‘possibility’ but rather evidence. These DPP cadets masquerading as human rights activist claim to be raising an alarm of possibility of the four committing crimes against humanity not speculation.”
The court, which sits in The Hague, acts on evidence not speculation, Munthali explained.
Meanwhile, some Malawians have taken up in various social media platforms to condemn some of the rights activists who have written the ICC over post-election violence after it emerged that two of them some of them are confessed Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadets.
However, it has transpired that one of the signatories Phillip Kamangira is a confessed DPP operative.
Kamangira vied for the position of deputy publicity secretary in the DPP during the party convention but failed.
Another signatory to the letter Kulimbamtima Chiotcha is also a confessed DPP cadet.
And Emily Banda has been removed from the list of the signatories after it emerged that the activists forged her signature.
She says she will be consulting her legal team over the forgery issue.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :