Sunday, March 22, 2009

Darfur, an ICC Arrest Warrant, and the Humanitarian Imperative

By Eric Reeves

EARLIER this month, Sudan’s National Islamic Front regime expelled 13
humanitarian organizations from Darfur and Northern Sudan. The expulsion
order followed immediately the announcement by the International
Criminal Court of an arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar
al-Bashir, charging him with crimes against humanity and war crimes. All
evidence points to a well-planned response by Khartoum to a judicial
decision that was universally expected.

The consequences of these expulsions are enormous. All expelled
organizations played key roles in humanitarian assistance; together they
constituted more than 50 percent of total aid capacity. Now 1.5 million
people no longer have access to primary healthcare, and a deadly
meningitis outbreak threatens tens of thousands. General food
distributions to more than 1 million people have been halted, including
to children and the malnourished. More than 1 million people will no
longer have access to clean water; shortages are already being reported,
and will spread quickly.

On Monday, the regime went further and announced its intention to
expel all international aid organizations within a year, despite being
unable to replace the work or resources of these organizations. This
amounts to genocide by other means. With many months to anticipate the
inevitable ICC announcement, Khartoum was determined to make the most of
the occasion, and elimination of an international humanitarian presence
in Darfur had long been a central ambition. The ICC announcement was not
so much the cause of the expulsions as a singularly opportune pretext. Read more >>>>>>>>.

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