Why we couldn’t prosecute Grace Mugabe

Grace Mugabe has officially been granted diplomatic immunity after her alleged assault on 20-year-old model Gabriella Engels.

She has now returned to Zimbabwe with President Robert Mugabe after the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Summit.

This raised many questions into how The Department of International Relations (Dirco) could grant the Zimbabwean first lady diplomatic immunity.

International criminal law expert, Ottilia Maunganidza, helps us decipher Dirco's decision.

READ: Grace Mugabe immunity: SA between ‘rock & hard place’

One of the biggest question to arise from Dirco Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane minutes declaring the diplomatic immunity was the fact that no specific date was given to indicate when the immunity starts.

Maunganidza says that official Government Gazette on the matter will give more clarity when it is released. However, Maunganidza says that from the minutes one can speculate when Mugabe's immunity began.

If the notice backdates to when the first lady arrived in South Africa in mid July, it would mean the immunity covers the incident. If it only covers when SADC Summit immunity period was, it means the immunity was granted just so she could leave the country.

Ottilia Maunganidza, International criminal law expert

Maunganidza says that since the alleged assault occurred before the SADC Summit or it pre-events, granting Mugabe immunity for that time raises issues into the scope of the immunity and whether it leave the door open for future prosecutions.

One of the considerations that were given in Dirco's notice was that of derivative immunity. Maunganidza explains that derivative immunity refers to people like diplomats, or in this case the First Lady of Zimbabwe, getting immunity based on their status and relationship to the primary immunity holder - the president.

Read: Government has failed us - mother of Gabriella Engels

From a criminal prosecution point of view, unless we see that immunity was just for the SADC Summit or whatever the case may be, it means that she is immune from prosecution if it covers the date of the assault.

Ottilia Maunganidza, International criminal law expert

Maunganidza says that there are different types of immunity which have to be clarified. She add that these can be contested.

For the Engels family, Maunganidza advises that further action against Mugabe would be to contest her diplomatic immunity. Maunganidza also says that the nature of Mugabe's citizenship could also play a role.

If Grace Mugabe is a South African citizen, she cannot have immunity.

Ottilia Maunganidza, International criminal law expert

Listen to the full explanation below:


This article first appeared on 702 : Why we couldn’t prosecute Grace Mugabe


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI

CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Eusebius McKaiser: Black people using the K-word may be inflicting self-harm

Eusebius McKaiser: Black people using the K-word may be inflicting self-harm

Callers on the Eusebius Mckaiser Show debate black on black racism and how it may be a form of internalised oppression.

Independent Media, Iqbal Survé and why greater transparency is needed at the PIC

Independent Media, Iqbal Survé and why greater transparency is needed at the PIC

Political analyst Vukani Mde argues that Treasury, Parliament and labour unions must do a better job to hold the PIC to account.

Deconstructing and dismantling Afrikaner female identity

Deconstructing and dismantling Afrikaner female identity

Christi van der Westhuizen speaks about her book Sitting Pretty: White Afrikaans Women in Post apartheid South Africa.

Technobyte: Earthlings get an opportunity to view their planet in real time

Technobyte: Earthlings get an opportunity to view their planet in real time

On Technobyte, a project to see the earth live, a review of a rugged Cat S31 phone and talk about CO2 emissions and e-waste.

Tips on how to deal with a paralysing phobia

Tips on how to deal with a paralysing phobia

Psychotherapist Louisa Niehaus says some phobias can be treated through gradual exposure therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy.

Do people have problems with polygamy, a big age gap...or everything Zuma does?

Do people have problems with polygamy, a big age gap...or everything Zuma does?

Eusebius McKaiser engages callers on the latest announcement of former president Zuma's upcoming wedding.

Popular articles
[LISTEN] 65-year-old doctor runs 200kms across Moroccan desert for birthday

[LISTEN] 65-year-old doctor runs 200kms across Moroccan desert for birthday

Aside from the muscle aches, Dr Hans Van Heerden feet also took a pounding as a result of the challenging sandy terrain.

Why many couples today are struggling with marriage

Why many couples today are struggling with marriage

Dr Eve advises that many modern couples need marriage to be a safe space for self-expression and self-actualisation.

The Big Pet Problem: Are you struggling to rent because you have pets?

The Big Pet Problem: Are you struggling to rent because you have pets?

Frustrated tenants say they're being discriminated against by landlords.

'The NPA should be ready and re-enroll the matter' - Nel on Malema prosecution

'The NPA should be ready and re-enroll the matter' - Nel on Malema prosecution

AfriForum not backing down over decision to privately prosecute Julius Malema.

Ed Dept scraps supplementary exams for matriculants

Ed Dept scraps supplementary exams for matriculants

The Department of Basic Education has announced it will do away with matric supplementary exams from 2019.

Do you feel shameful about sex?

Do you feel shameful about sex?

There are various reasons for feeling shame around sex, but it can be overcome, says sexologist Dr Marelize Swart.

Cape Town not out the woods yet even with recent rainfall

Cape Town not out the woods yet even with recent rainfall

Climate expert, Piotr Wolski, says the city will know towards the end of May whether 2018 is a good or bad year.

3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

These are the emergency numbers you should have on your cellphone and this is what you must understand about how they work.