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Women Nobel laureates criticise Zuma’s choice for chief justice

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Summary of story from yahoo, September 7, 2011

South African President Jacob Zuma has been urged by a group of women Nobel laureates to reconsider his choice of Mogoeng Mogoeng for chief justice of the Constitutional Court, citing his record in rape cases (see WVoN story).

Ireland’s Mairead Maguire, American Jody Williams and Iran’s Shirin Ebadi have joined forces with local women’s groups, saying that the appointment of Mogoeng would weaken South Africa’s commitment to realising gender equality.

In a statement, the women said “We note with concern that President Jacob Zuma’s nominee for chief justice, the highest judicial office in the country, has issued many rulings that undermine women’s rights and are at odds with the values enshrined in the constitution.

“Many of his rulings have undermined the severity of the crime of rape and its consequences for victims and invoke dangerous myths about rape that often blame the victims themselves and excuse perpetrators of egregious crimes.”

South African rights groups expressed recently over three rape cases in which Mogoeng reduced sentences that had been imposed by a trial court.

He has disputed claims that he is insensitive to rape cases, saying he has also sentenced convicted rapists to long terms from 10 years to life.

As well as having one of the world’s highest incidences of rape, South Africa has also seen an increase in violence against lesbians who have been raped and killed (see WVoN coverage).

Mogoeng is President Zuma’s only nominee for the job.  If successful, he will succeed retired chief justice Sandile Ngcobo who last month turned down Zuma’s appointment for a second term.

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