Ian Smith must stand trial for genocide, says Mugabe

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The Independent Online

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe yesterday said he would reverse a 20-year policy of reconciliation and put on trial for genocide those whites who were guilty of atrocities during the country's liberation war in the Seventies.

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe yesterday said he would reverse a 20-year policy of reconciliation and put on trial for genocide those whites who were guilty of atrocities during the country's liberation war in the Seventies.

"The national reconciliation policy is being gravely threatened by acts of the white settlers. We shall revoke that national reconciliation policy," the state-run Ziana news agency quoted the veteran President as telling ruling party supporters.

"The whites, including [the Rhodesian leader, Ian] Smith, will now stand trial for the genocide in this country,'' President Mugabe said.

Earlier, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) launched unprecedented impeachment proceedings in parliament against the 76-year-old President. The MDC argues that the President acted unconstitutionally by ordering acts of violence in the run-up to elections earlier this year.

Last week, soaring food prices sparked three days of rioting in the country's impoverished townships. Mr Mugabe accused white Zimbabweans supported by Britain and the United States of trying to destabilise the country.

The Zimbabwean President's threat to whites yesterday marks the reversal of a policy of tolerance for which he gained much admiration after he came to power in 1980. Mr Smith, now aged 81, still lives in Harare. He was not available for comment yesterday.

Mr Mugabe was speaking after a Gallup opinion poll showed that half of all Zimbabweans think he should resign and face prosecution for alleged human rights crimes during his 20-year rule. Twenty-four per cent favoured giving him amnesty from prosecution if he resigned, while only 14 per cent wanted him to stay on.

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