Sunday, June 13, 2010

In a bind over Darfur

By Louise Roland-Gosselin,

Today, in an unprecedented step, the prosecutor for the international criminal court formally asked the UN security council to take action against Sudan if it continues to refuse to hand over a former minister and a militia leader indicted for war crimes in Darfur. Through this referral, the court is attempting to demonstrate its ability to take sanctions against those who deny its authority. But for the international community this referral presents a conundrum that gets to the heart of the problem with Sudan: how to balance the seemingly competing aims of pursuing justice against the Sudanese president and his government for the ongoing atrocities in Darfur, while cajoling them towards a successful referendum on the secession of southern Sudan in January 2011.

As has been the case so many times in the past, Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, who has himself been indicted by the ICC, knows he has the UN in a bind. The UN sees its choice as being one between pursuing justice and risking Bashir sabotaging the referendum, or giving in to him, allowing the indictments to be sidelined and confirming what dictators across the world already assume: that there is no such thing as international justice. There are no easy answers but, with the death count in Darfur rising, ensuring that this conflict does not get sidelined in the bid to win Bashir's favour will be an important task for the international community, and one in which the UK has an obligation to take a leading role. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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