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He can’t be mocked!

January 11, 2016

Rape is among other atrocities committed in any war anywhere, but it is unique in its kind. An article on RFI’s website quotes the Burundian human rights minister estimating rape cases around 10,000 in 2015 only (Although the interior ministry denies this). Few are those that are courageous enough to come forward for in addition to shame, they fear for their own lives. As to whether they get justice or not is another question.

Will the criminals ever be prosecuted? Where will justice come from? Because of the current delicate political situation, so many are making an appeal to the international criminal court (rather than our own Burundian law courts) for many of those acts of pure evil upon the weak, voiceless and helpless citizen. Infuriating is the thought that added to the fact that rapists are getting away with it is the fact that, their impunity is promoting in the community a brutal, criminal and cruel perversity (the words are weak) melted with ethnicism.

A recent article in the New York Times magazine makes a case of how investigative challenges for rape cases in the U.S. can be enormous. The article describes in detail how complicated, expensive and time consuming these cases can be. Among those challenges are, if you can believe it, ideas about what constitutes ‘real rape’, lack of physical evidence or crime scene for investigation (most cases are reported after a long time and most of them don’t result in serious injuries), the questioning of the victim’s moral state, the difficulty to identify the perpetrator…

If challenges are that enormous for the wealthiest country, equipped with seemingly unlimited resources and a qualified personnel, how much more could it be for a poor and heavily corrupted country—a place where there’s no such thing as DNA national database in case there’s physical evidence or police lab for image enhancement in case the aggressor is caught on surveillance camera–where almost all of these allegations are charged against the police and the armed youth members of the ruling party?

Added to this, if the crimes committed in this period of unrest in Burundi are ever, we hope, going to be prosecuted, much of the attention is probably going to be devoted to the growing number of murder cases which means that so many these ‘minor’ cases are going to seep through the cracks.

Prospects for the triumph of justice are all the more bleak. If we were to make statistics of the likelihood of justice being served, the above facts will be creating a terrible equation; we are left to despair: The majority of raped women will never get justice.

Still added to the above facts is, in the best case scenario, if we consider that those rapists (and all other criminals) will be incarcerated, a question begs to be asked: ‘Is really a prison cell doing justice?’ That hardly seems so. A cell doesn’t seem to be the equivalent of the emotional and psychological pain that raped women have to face. After all, the damage is already done. There’s no coming back.

What can we say about those who contract sexual transmitted diseases and/or get pregnant as a result? Shame, mental disorders, probable sexual dysfunction, anxieties, fear, depression, suicide (very frequent)… Prison doesn’t match the life-long emotional consequences to face. Prison is too weak a penalty. It’s just no match.

Human justice systems, alas, can only go so far. That’s how limited they are. We cry and yearn for justice. Justice is naturally to be desired, but it is costly. If that kind of (impressive) effort is invested to (only) lock a rapist behind the bars when in fact he deserved more, we better hope of a higher and more effective institution to administer justice rightfully.

If there’s no justice in this lifetime for the victims of that horrific act of perversion, then we must believe in a perfect justice to come because otherwise what is the point of this human deep desire for justice—a desire pushing him into the noble effort of building this institution? We await a time when the world will be made right, when He, the creator, will be shown as infinitely superior to the human justice system. His word predicts a day He’ll come back in power to establish his rule.

He’ll shine, on that day, as perfect in his judgments and perfect in his verdicts. His righteousness must and will shine for all the world to see. Justice must be served. Justice will be served. Justice will be achieved. He cannot be mocked! He must be glorified.

It is good news for us but it is at the same time bad news. The perfect court will revisit every act we have committed in this earthly life. Mere time won’t cancel unpunished sin. The standards for perfect justice are high! It’s the kind of standard that equates lustful thought with adultery (placing them at the same level as rape in the sexual immorality category), anger with murder (Mat5:21-22), unforgiveness and revenge (which we tend to have against our offenders) with a denial of mercy.

The good news of the Gospel is that the Son of God bore the weight of eternal punishment which we all deserve and clothes those who believe in him with a perfect righteousness of his own. It is what is called, in judicial terms, amazing grace…Can you believe this?

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
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