By Thom Chiumia, Nyasa Times
Malawi civil society organisations which organised the July 20 demonstrations have made a call to International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague to investigate President Bingu wa Mutharika and his cronies for the use of lethal force during a crackdown on anti-government protests.
At least 19 people were killed during a police crackdown against anti-government demonstrations and more than 275 people arrested across the country.
In a media statement issued on Monday, the Civil Society Organizations, also an indictment of Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Aaron Sangala and Inspector General Of Police, Peter Mukhitho for crimes against humanity in respect to the killings and serious wounding hundreds of unarmed innocent people during the nationwide demonstration.
“This request is in line with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Article 5 (1) (b),” said the statement made available to Nyasa Times.
“We strongly submit that the arbitrary killing of the 18 unarmed demonstrators at the hands of the police is an indication of the unacceptable failure and negligence in our Police System in their duty to safeguarding the lives Malawians as enshrined in the Malawi constitution,”according to the statement.
The eight organisations – the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), the Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU), the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Church and Society of Livingstonia, Nkhoma synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, the Civic and Political Space Platform, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and the Centre for Development of People (CEDEP) – accused authorities of arbitrary usage of fire-arms.
They said the Malawi Constitution in section 16 guarantees that “….every person has the right to life and no person shall be arbitrary deprived of his or her life….”
The same constitution of Malawi squarely puts the responsibility to safeguard and protect the lives and property of Malawians on the police.
The NGOs say Malawians are looking forward to getting the officials who ordered the brutal killings to account.
They also decry that the statements made by President Mutharika after the killings show a worsening situation instead of corrective measures being undertaken
“Besides, just to vindicate our fears that the police is being used to perpetrate crimes against humanity, the Commander-in-Chief of the Malawi Police who is also the Sate President said-just two days after the killing of the 18 civilians during the pass out parade of police officer cadets-that he will ‘smoke out’ and deal with all those that organized the 20 July demonstrations.”
The statement says Malawians especially those that have a contrary view to the ideas being advanced by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government have become a target of either the police of the DPP youth militias.
“Innocent lives have been lost, people continue to live in constant fear of their lives and there is no any assuring words whatsoever from those that we have entrusted with protecting us to protection. The organizers of the 20 July have gone into hiding in fear of their lives.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :