In This Review

Invisible Crimes: U.S. Private Intervention in the War in Mozambique
Invisible Crimes: U.S. Private Intervention in the War in Mozambique
By Kathi Austin
Africa Policy Information Center, 1994, 50 pp

Although the State Department in the Reagan years officially condemned the brutal insurgent movement in Mozambique known as Renamo, it simultaneously turned a blind eye to the material and propaganda support provided to Renamo by right-wing American groups. Hundreds of thousands of Mozambican civilians died in a war fomented, first by Rhodesian whites and later by Pretoria, solely to thwart movement toward majority rule in southern Africa. This report argues that Americans who helped to fuel Renamo's murderous war machine should be held legally accountable for the movement's gross abuses. Unfortunately, while it amply documents the range of conservative propaganda efforts -- misguided and mendacious but constitutionally protected -- the report falls short of solidly substantiating its claim that right-wing material support (communications equipment, uniforms, money) boosted Renamo's fortunes to any important extent. Noting that in practice no effective legal mechanism exists to hold private actors accountable in American courts for material intervention in foreign conflicts (the 1794 Neutrality Act having fallen into disuse), the report recommends that Congress and legal scholars address the inadequacies of existing law regarding such interventions.