Mugabe is Frankenstein, says Tutu
25 June 2008
The Sydney Morning Herald
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has become a Frankenstein for his people, Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu says.
But, the Anglican archbishop says, the violence in Zimbabwe may eventually escalate to the extent where the international community needs to consider intervention to protect the nation's people.
Mr Tutu has been at the forefront of African leaders who have spoken out about the brutal regime of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, whose leadership is increasingly being denounced as illegitimate. (...)
"He has mutated into something that is quite unbelievable, he has really turned into a kind of Frankenstein for his people," Mr Tutu told ABC TV.
The United Nations has condemned the violence in Zimbabwe which forced the country's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to withdraw from a presidential run-off poll this Friday because of the continuing threat to his supporters.
Mr Tutu indicated the time may come when the world had to consider invoking the UN principle of a "responsibility to protect".
The UN recognised in 2005 the "responsibility to protect" civilians when their governments could or would not do it, even if this meant violating national sovereignty.
"Many of the leaders of the world have shown a very admirable sensitivity but ultimately we may get to the point where we have to invoke this new doctrine of responsibility to protect," Mr Tutu said.
"That is, if a government of a country is unable to provide protection for its people then the international community may step in even when people have tended to use the old doctrine of sovereignty of the state."
Mr Tutu said it was crucial the international community didn't leave any intervention too long. (...)
But Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has doubts the UN would be able to reach agreement on such intervention.
"Certainly we think the United Nations and the Security Council should be increasing its interest and its activity," he told ABC TV.
The Rudd government wants the UN to have a fully fledged debate on Zimbabwe and has asked its UN mission in New York to promote that view to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. (...)
"One of the problems we've had before the Security Council is the use of the veto, but certainly we want the UN to be playing a more active role, just as we've said for some time we want the Southern African Development Community states and the African Union states to be taking the primary regional responsibility for bringing the brutal Mugabe regime under control."
Mr Smith intends to raise the issue of Zimbabwe when he heads to Japan tomorrow for the Group of Eight (G8) foreign ministers meeting.
"On Zimbabwe I'll be making a range of points, that Australia has been at the forefront as far as sanctions are concerned ... we want to make sure those international sanctions are coordinated," he said.
"We'll be urging a range of countries to contemplate sanctions and also urging further action before the Security Council and making the point that we do have an emerging principle ... of international law which is about the responsibility to protect."
Interview with Desmond Tutu: http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2008/s2284989.htm