Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Crimes of humanity in Darfur

Bashir's day of reckoning may soon be near
Nat Hentoff

A hero of this young century, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, is coming closer to arresting the president of Sudan, Lt. Gen. Omar Bashir, and bringing him to be tried at The Hague for genocide, among other crimes against humanity in Darfur.

In July, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo asked the ICC to issue arrest warrants for Gen. Bashir on three counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity and two of murder. The legal definition of genocide is the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethinic, racial or religious group." The prosecutor accuses Gen. Bashir of a campaign to eliminate African Darfur tribes (Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa).

After the ICC asked for more supporting material to justify arrest warrants, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo submitted more than 700 pages of documented evidence, including witness statements. All of his previous requests for arrest warrants in other cases have been successful.

Adding to Gen. Bashir's fears is the prospect of national elections next year - which have been demanded by foreign donor governments and supported by the United Nations and many in Sudan. The Economist reports

that the dictator and his henchmen "know that if even vaguely free and fair ballots were to take place throughout Sudan, they would lose heavily." If Gen. Bashir is subject to actual arrest by the ICC, he would find it exceedingly hard to rig the elections.

In order to prevent attempts to take the dictator into custody by the ICC, there is a concerted, insistent attempt to get the United Nations to exercise its authority to defer any further action by the ICC. Ostensibly to assure "stability in the area," this Praetorian Guard protecting Al-Bashir includes the Arab states, some members of the African Union - and of course China and Russia. Read more >>>>

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