Mugabe should be toppled and indicted in The Hague, says South African Bishop

Other News Materials 5 December 2008 17:44 (UTC +04:00)

The international community should be prepared to intervene military in Zimbabwe and indict Robert Mugabe if he refuses to meet the world's demands and step down, South African Bishop Desmond Tutu told Dutch media.

Speaking in the late night Dutch current affairs programme NOVA on Thursday, the bishop, aged 77, said the Zimbabwean president must be forced out of power as soon as possible, reported dpa.

"The point is that we should stop the suffering of so many people," said the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was in the Netherlands to award the 2008 Childrens' World Peace Prize.

The bishop said the current state of Zimbabwe and the deplorable situation of its people has made him change his strategy concerning Mugabe.

Tutu said that previously "I myself felt that Mugabe should be given a soft landing. I then said he should be tempted with a carrot: 'If you step down, we will not bring you to (the International Criminal Court in) The Hague.'"

The Netherlands-based International Criminal Court (ICC) is a court of last resort for serious crimes of international concern, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

"Today I think the world must say (to Mugabe): 'Look, you have been responsible for gross violations and you are going to face indictment in The Hague - unless you step down."

"He has destroyed a wonderful country. Zimbabwe has become an empty basket. The country needs help," Tutu added, saying that African countries should play an important role in the process of forcing Mugabe out of power.

"The world should bring him to The Hague and this should also include African countries as well as the European Union. If necessary, it should happen by force, by the African Union, (the South African Development Community) SADC, and the European Union. They have got that capacity."

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday called for President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe to step down, citing the recent cholera outbreak as an example of his failed government.

Describing Mugabe's departure was "long overdue," Rice called elections that had brought Mugabe to power a "sham."

After a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Copenhagen, Rice urged the international community, especially Zimbabwe's southern African neighbours, to help break the political impasse over a power-sharing government between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).