LUSAKA, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Zambia's main opposition party on Friday expressed surprise that its top leadership has been reported to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity but has welcomed the move.
A law firm has written to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC, saying several crimes against humanity have been committed by Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND), and the party's vice president Geoffrey Mwamba in the aftermath of the August 11 general elections.
Lewis Nathan Advocates, in its letter dated August 25, has reported the opposition leaders in view of the recent spate of violence in some parts of the country after incumbent President Edgar Lungu was declared winner of the elections.
Supporters of the opposition leaders reportedly went on a rampage attacking ruling party supporters and burning their houses and shops in opposition strongholds.
Stephen Katuka, the opposition party's secretary-general said it was surprising that the party's top leadership have been reported to the ICC given the levels of abuse and discrimination the party and its supporters were currently receiving.
"Nevertheless, as UPND we would welcome the independent scrutiny of the ICC and those bodies concerned with the protection of human rights in light of the current situation in Zambia. We want an open door on such matters," the party official said in a statement.
Zambia is a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC.
The opposition party has disputed the outcome of the polls and has filed a petition to the Constitutional Court challenging the election results.
Incumbent President Edgar Lungu was declared winner with 1,860,877 of the votes while Hichilema got 1,760,347.