Archbishop Desmond Tutu today called for Robert Mugabe to be removed by force if he refuses to step down.
Tutu, whom Mugabe has previously called "a bitter little bishop", made the comments during an interview on Dutch television, according to News24.
Asked if Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, should be removed by force, Tutu said: "Yes, by force - if they say to him: step down, and he refuses, they must do so militarily," reports the South African news site.
Tutu reckons African leaders should tell Mugabe to step down and threaten that is does not do so, they will send him to the Hague. But as others have pointed out, according to international law, the Hague has no jurisdiction on this matter. The courts set up there only deal with Sierra Leone and one other African hot spot. These courts have country-specific mandates, which is why I always have to laugh when I hear people say Mugabe is afraid of going to the Hague to be tried. Mugabe knows that there is no way that would happen.
The International Criminal Court of Justice (to which Mugabe is not a signatory, together with the George Bush's USA, a rare meeting of minds) only deals with matters that occurred after 2002, when it was set up, so it had no powers to charge Mugabe for the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres, which he has called "a moment of madness.
But you just have to laugh. The frustration levels with Mugabe are reaching unprecedented levels when a Nobel Peace Prize Winner calls for the removal of his government through arms!
Of course, Mugabe knows that, as things stand right now, there is no court in the world that has a case against him. There is none even that has the prospect of having a case against him. The only option would be the Saddam one, where a new government in Zimbabwe would charge him using its own courts. But even there, the age limits imposed by Zimbabwean courts on certain types of crimes being charged would make this unlikely. Of course, exceptions can always be made.
But this is one of the reasons why the dictator and his band of high-level supporters refuse to countenance a Tsvangirai presidency. Tsvangirai has made himself no strategic favours, also, by announcing assuming power that he would charge all these people with crimes against humanity. It makes them even more determined to keep him out of the presidency, even if he does become prime minister.