Johannesburg, Jun 28 (EFE).- The South African public prosecutor’s office and an elite police unit will set up a joint team to investigate atrocities during the apartheid years, local authorities said on Monday.
The new investigative team will reopen cases dating back to the early 1960s, and hold those responsible for the crimes accountable, according to the South African government.
“Perpetrators of heinous apartheid-era atrocities that came to light in the late 90s’ Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will soon have to face the full might of the law,” it said.
Shamila Batohi, the national director of public prosecutions (NDPP), encouraged the initiative, with the support of the elite police unit, the Hawks.
In the past year, the number of these historical cases has risen from 4 to 53.
Despite the increase, most of the atrocities the country’s post-apartheid TRC recommended investigating remained unaddressed, more than 27 years after democracy was established. There were about 300 unsolved crimes in total.
The TRC was established when Nelson Mandela served as the country’s first black president from 1994 to 1999, and led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu. It was designed to document crimes committed by all sides during the apartheid period (1948-1994).
Although the black and indigenous populations of the country were already under colonial rule, segregationist laws started to be enforced in 1984 and made South Africa one of the most cruel and racist regimes in the world.
Racial segregation was then dismantled in the 1990s, with the first democratic and multiracial elections that saw the historic victory of Mandela. EFE