Australia’s Queensland Police Service says it will refer Susan Mutami’s rape case against Zimbabwean President Emerson Mnangagwa to “international jurisdictions”,.
This means that the case will now be dealt with by the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol).
This will escalate and internationalise the rape case that has sent shockwaves across the country.
Mnangagwa, 79, was accused of sexual assault by a now 33-year-old woman dating back to 2004 when she was a 15-year-old Form 3 pupil at Loreto High School in Silobela.
ZimLive reports that Australian police are bound to open the case and then refer it to Interpol for investigations that may rope in other jurisdictions which may be helpful in the process.
In response to an enquiry by ZimLive about Mutami’s report, Matt Adams, senior media and public affairs advisor (Queensland Police), said:
For confidentiality and privacy reasons, we are unable to provide any information other than to advise Queensland Police will liaise with, and refer any inquiries to international jurisdictions.
Interpol offers investigative support such as forensics, analysis, and assistance in locating fugitives around the world.
All Interpol’s actions are politically neutral and taken within the limits of the existing laws in different countries, in this case, Australia and Zimbabwe.
While Interpol deals with various crimes, including corruption, human and drug trafficking, organised crime, smuggling, cybercrime and terrorism, one of its major focuses is crimes against children, especially sexual abuse and exploitation, trafficking, forced labour and abduction. The organisation says in its mandate brief:
Sexual abuse and exploitation, trafficking, forced labour and abduction: these are just some of the dangers faced by children around the world today. At Interpol, we work to address those crimes that have an international dimension.
Meanwhile, George Charamba, the official spokesman for Mnangagwa, dismissed the rape allegations as “gossip.” He said Mnangagwa would not be commenting.
The scandal has cast a shadow over Mnangagwa’s bid to seek re-election as Zanu PF leader at a congress expected in October.
He fired his former deputy, Kembo Mohadi, after he was exposed for bedding his married aides.