Jagdeo does not have immunity from prosecution for his ‘crimes against humanity’

Former President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo appears vocal and confident. That much is evident from his recent courting of the media, his myriad of accusations against SOCU, the British diplomatic core, the Government, Minister of State, Joe Harmon, President Granger and whoever pops into his mind as offering any kind of real or perceived threat to his master plan of retaking the reins of leadership in Guyana. Jagdeo’s posturing however is bluster, there is one issue that really concerns him and it is issue of immunity. Jagdeo is not a stupid man, he is aware that there is still a significant risk that he will be charged by the ICC for crimes against humanity for his role in the murders of more than 400 young, mostly African young men. There is no question that Jagdeo will one day join the ranks of Liberia’s Charles Taylor, Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gragbo, Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir, Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic and Chile’s Augusto Pinochet; who were all quite recently, either arrested, prosecuted or served with warrants for their crimes against their own people. For Bharrat Jagdeo and all of his cronies who were complicit in these egregious crimes, it is only a matter of time.

Beneath the surface of apparent calm, the PPP/C Freedom House in Guyana is in chaos. Several operatives there are scared and leaking information to undermine Jagdeo. Party members are hastily planning their defense by contacting international lawyers for advice and protection. Meanwhile the former President Bharat Jagdeo, now leader of the opposition in Guyana South America who was recently called in by investigators of the Guyana Police Force’s Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU), refused to cooperate, citing Guyana’s constitution which allows for Presidential Immunity and was subsequently arrested. Jagdeo’s arrest shook the foundation of the PPPC and indicated to them how real their arrest, prosecution and imprisonment can be for their past crimes and thievery of the people’s assets. All is not well at Freedom House.

Recently, Guyanese Minister of state Joseph Harmon only served to raise the level of anxiety inside Freedom House when he explained to the public through his weekly PRESS BRIEF that the Constitution defines the immunity as applicable to “a sitting president who takes certain steps while he is in office, so we respect that” but he went on to state that “You cannot commit an egregious type of act, which is something that an international court or anybody will deem to be as such, and still believe that nothing will happen.”

The Opposition Leader and General Secretary of his People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Bharat Jagdeo objected to Minister of State view that the former Guyanese leader’s constitutional protection from prosecution in civil and criminal courts for official acts could be removed because he is back in the political limelight. Jagdeo, who served as president from 1999 to 2011, Jagdeo is disputing Harmon’s remark that the police could determine presidential immunity. “It is only the courts can determine these issues,” said the PPP leader. Jagdeo’s own words are prophetic, it will be the courts that will eventually arrest and prosecute him for his crimes against humanity.

Though currently representing the PPP/C Party in Guyana’s Parliament Jagdeo has not given any verbal indication on whether he will run again as the PPPC presidential candidate but the nonverbal indications are clear. Jagdeo is currently in court proceedings questioning the legality of Guyana’s Parliamentary decision of a two term limit for presidential candidates. The Caribbean Court of Justice has since upheld the Guyana High Court decision. “Those amendments providing for term limits,” the High Court says, “are unconstitutional because they can only be made by a referendum instead of a two-thirds parliamentary majority.”