ANALYSIS | By Reason Wafawarova in Australia | Extra Territorial Jurisdiction
Let me start by saying I have not met, talked to, or communicated in any way with one Susan Vivian Mutami, a 34 year old Australian woman originally from Kwekwe, Zimbabwe.
I haven’t been on Facebook for the past two days, and I have had people asking me about my role if any, in the reported case where Ms Mutami is reported to have made a police report with Queensland Police Services regarding a case of alleged historical child sexual molestation or rape, dating back 19 years when Ms Mutami was 15.
The alleged perpetrator is the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.
Without getting much into the detail of the allegations, let me categorically state I have not played any role in influencing the direction of this case, apart from suggesting here on social media that victims of similar crimes perpetrated in countries where they can prove they can’t get a fair trial have an option to pursue extra territorial jurisdiction.
Essentially this is when a country in another jurisdiction decides to prosecute an accused person in another jurisdiction because it is satisfied the perpetrator may never face justice where the alleged crime was committed, or when the victim of the alleged crime is a citizen of the country opting to exercise extra territorial jurisdiction, or when the accused is a citizen who committed the alleged crimes abroad.
Chapter 4 of the Australian Constitution provides for instances where Australia will exercise its extraterritorial jurisdiction. So far only cases related to war crimes have been considered.
Section 98 of the Zimbabwe Constitution provides for immunity for a sitting president, meaning a sitting President is not obliged at law to respond to any civil or criminal charges relating to his personal life, not until he leaves office. This also will be taken into consideration.
In Ms Mutami’s case two of the options apply, given the social standing of the alleged perpetrator. She is a citizen, and the accused wields a lot of power in Zimbabwe.
Belgium once announced it had taken a decision to exercise its right to extraterritorial jurisdiction over allegations levelled against Israeli General Ariel Sharon, and they announced if he travelled to Belgium or through Belgium they would arrest him and put him on trial.
The US responded by threatening to pull out NATO Headquarters from Belgium if the threat was carried out.
A few countries threatened to do the same with George W Bush’s alleged war crimes in Iraq after the US President left office.
Ms Mutami reported her case to the police service of a state in Australia, not the Australian Federal Police.
Like any other case the police will assess the allegations, ask for evidence and decide whether or not to refer the case to Federal Police.
Federal Police will investigate as well, most likely contact the accused, and if there are grounds to go to trial, charges can or may be pressed against the accused.
The accused can be represented by lawyers in absentia or can attend court if they choose to.
If the accused ignores the court summons, trial may proceed in absentia.
I notice Ms Mutami has a traceable record of the alleged case on line, including several times she explicitly exonerated the accused of any wrongdoing, including with the media.
I also notice Ms Mutami has a colourful, if not dramatic traceable sexual history on line, involving at least 33 high profile men in Harare alone.
I was just wondering if there will be a list for Australian men. While I am certain about my innocence on this matter I have a feeling I will have to ascertain my non involvement when or if the list will come out.
I also note there were claims made by Ms Mutami that her son was fathered by a late Zimbabwean politician, and that someone was framed to be the biological father to cover up the responsibility of the late Foreign Minister.
I also note Ms Mutami has claimed in the past that she was scan proven pregnant with politician Temba Mliswa’s two baby twins, and the twins never really got to materialise. No explanation has been offered for the anomaly yet.
The police will most likely assess factuality, credibility, intention, motivation, and any other relevant aspects related to this matter.