Sunday, August 15, 2010

On July 12 a three-judge panel of the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Sudan’s brutal strongman, President Omar al-Bashir. The new charges are for three counts of genocide in Darfur, adding to the many counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for which al-Bashir was charged by the ICC in March 2009. These recent charges are without precedent in the pursuit of international justice. As the Washington Post noted, this was “the first time the Hague-based court has accused a sitting head of state of committing the most egregious international crime.”

So what was the response of President Obama’s special envoy for Sudan, former Air Force General Scott Gration? “The decision by the ICC to accuse Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir of genocide will make my mission more difficult…” This seems an extraordinarily cynical response to a critical moment in the effort to end impunity for atrocity crimes, precisely the impunity that sustains human suffering and destruction in Darfur. So, we may wonder, just what is General Gration’s job that it is made “more difficult” by such action? How can these historic first steps, pursuing international justice in the wake of massive ethnically-targeted human destruction, make his task harder? And even if harder, what does Gration have to say to the millions of Darfuris who enthusiastically support the ICC and its actions against al-Bashir? Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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