Activists Criticize Zuma’s Chief Justice Pick

Posted September 7th, 2011 at 6:41 am (UTC-5)
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Several leading human rights activists are urging South African President Jacob Zuma to reconsider his plan to appoint a controversial pastor to lead the country's judicial system.

Three women Nobel laureates say that Zuma's selection, Mogoeng Mogoeng, would weaken women's rights if appointed as chief justice of the Constitutional Court.

Ireland's Mairead Maguire, American Jody Williams and Iran's Shirin Ebadi say that many of Mogoeng's previous rulings have undermined the severity of the crime of rape, and blame the victim rather than the perpetrator.

Rights groups have also accused Mogoeng of being homophobic, saying he believes that homosexuality is a sin, and that his rulings are more severe for homosexual sex crimes than for heterosexual ones.

Mogoeng has denied the allegations.

South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of rape, including an increasing trend of sexual violence against lesbians.