The Sudanese president Al-Bashir got indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country's western Darfur region. By now, everyone knows.
The international community, and the aid organisations working inside Sudan were weary of upcoming indictment since months.
Now the Sword of Damocles has fallen, they are dealing with the consequences: Sudan accused aid agencies of passing on information to the ICC and first expelled 10 NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations), followed by another three.
The impact goes beyond the expelled Darfur-based aid agencies themselves and their relief programmes. Many of these NGOs are implementing partners of other -often larger organisations-, who themselves were not expelled.
Concretely, this means that for non-expelled organisations, providing aid relief in Darfur will become even more challenging than it already was, with the security problems and logistical problems. More challenging, if not impossible for what is the largest humanitarian operation in the world.
So no wonder the aidworkers' blogosphere has been abuzz today on the ICC indictment and its consequences for the humanitarian relief efforts in Darfur. Check what Michael, Harry, Thirsty Palmetto, Paul, Scott, Peter and Rob have to say. (and check AidBlogs for more).
Add to that, what Rob Crilly, a reporter currently in Darfur, wrote on his blog a few days ago:
Today I met families who fled the fighting in Muhajiriya (..) One of them was Mariam Ahmed Abu. (..) She had survived six years of war but left when she realised she no longer had any children left to care for her. (..)All of that combined makes me think in how far the ICC indictment by itself will not cause a new genocide. Not one executed by AK47s and bombs dropped from helicopters, but a hidden genocide caused simply by blocking aid to flow to Darfur... Would we then have killed in the name of justice? Murdered those we should have protected?
She hadn't heard of the ICC until I asked her about it and I'm starting to think that taking Bashir to the Hague will be more of a victory for activists far away from Sudan than for the people stuck in this miserable war.
More on The Road about Darfur and Sudan.
By the way, if you have a high bandwidth Internet connection, you can watch "Darfur now", the movie online, right here on the The Road.
Picture courtesy Britolam.org