Heading for trouble in Sudan

Sudan's Bashir soon to salute to the ICC?

Judges at the International Criminal Court have decided to issue an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, brushing aside diplomatic requests to allow more time for peace negotiations in the conflict-riddled Darfur region of his country, according to court lawyers and diplomats.

It is the first time the court has sought the detention of a sitting head of state, and it could further complicate the tense, international debate over how to solve the crisis in Darfur.

Ever since international prosecutors began seeking an arrest warrant last year, opponents have pressed the United Nations Security Council to use its power to suspend the proceedings. But a majority of Council members have argued that the case should go forward, saying Mr. Bashir has not done enough to stop the bloodshed to deserve a reprieve.

Many African and Arab nations counter that issuing a warrant for Mr. Bashir’s arrest could backfire, diminishing Sudan’s willingness to compromise for the sake of peace. Others, including some United Nations officials, worry that a warrant could inspire reprisal attacks against civilians, aid groups or the thousands of international peacekeepers deployed there. (Full)

While Sudan still plays down reports on al-Bashir arrest decision for the moment, there was plenty of press in the past months where Sudan claimed indicting their president would risk bloodshed.

And then there is of course the statement of the UN envoy to Sudan saying Bashir's government warned the UN of "serious consequences" for its staff and facilities if the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant.
This resulted in the Sudanese government denying such threats (Full), and the UN denying it was to evacuate its staff in view of the upcoming arrest warrants (Full).

All politics and maneuvering... My predictions:
- Sudan will not surrender its president to the ICC
- UN and the powers-that-be will further pressure Sudan
- Masses will come onto the streets in all major cities, attacking UN and NGO facilities, causing the latter to seriously reduce staff.
- Darfur rebels and South Sudanese fractions will see a potential vacuum, and will renew military actions.
- ..causing the Sudanese military to respond more violently than before
- UN and NGOs evacuate
- ...giving either warring fractions enough space to do whatever they want in a free-for-all genocide.
- and by the time all of this is finished with a political compromise, Sudan will have one million people less. And the world will have one more genocide to justify.

But that is just me and my cynical mind, of course.

Picture courtesy AFP/Getty Images


Ashlee/Millersville 13 February, 2009 06:11  

Though there is no doubt in my mind that Bashir is guilty of war crimes and should cooperate fully with the ICC if it indeed does issue a warant, I am loath to be as free with the word “genocide.”

In a book i am reading, it quotes the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, established by the UN Security Council, on the issue of using the term “genocide” as follows:

“The comission concluded that Khartourum had committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, but that the crimes did not amount to genocide, though they may be no less serious and heinous than genocide.” The Commission used the legal requirements for identifying genocide as they are found in the 1948 Genocide Convention.

***If you are interrested in Darfur, please read the book(that i referenced above) “Scramble For Africa: Darfur-Intervention and the USA” It is a honest, well researched, though equally scathing and shocking look at the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. The authors, Kevin Funk and Steven Fake provide a crititcal analysis of the history of US foreign policy with regards to not only Sudan, but the continent of Africa as a whole!!!


Voegtli 13 February, 2009 07:00  

I don't think your mind is cynical.

I am worried about the situation. And I say something I shouldn't, but I am somehow pleased that I left 2 weeks ago. But I am worried about my friends I left behind. Not the one's in Khartoum, as I think that there the trouble will be more or less contained and I also don't think that attacks on Khartoum will happen.

But I a worried about my colleagues and friends in El Geneina and El Fasher and in particular my very, very dear friends in Nyala. Both international and national.

Because, and that is heresy, I have no faith and trust in UN's capacity of evacuating them if need be.

And Swiss Army sending now 4 military observers to El Fasher will certainly not help anything.

My friends, I am in my "save heaven" Switzerland. But I think of you. Daily.

Unknown 15 February, 2009 14:14  

What I love about your blog is that it is so universal. You cover so many topics and regions. Thanks for writing about what you write about.

Peter 15 February, 2009 19:26  

will have a look at that book!

My thoughts go out to the staff working in Darfur too. Hope they will remain save. Both national and international staff...

@Captain Cat:
Thanks for the compliments.. ;-)
Stay safe in Afghanistan!


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