Posted by: sean | February 28, 2007

The ICC and Darfur

Yesterday afternoon, I watched live coverage of ICC Judge Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s press conference in which he outlines Khartoum’s complicity in the “atrocities” in Darfur, which the UN has not owned up to calling by their proper name: genocide.

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor in The Hague outlined what he called operational, logistical and command links between Sudan’s government in Khartoum and horse-mounted nomadic militias it recruited and bankrolled to carry out mass killings in the Darfur region, and he named a member of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s inner circle as a suspect in the atrocities.

In a 94-page prosecution document filed with the court’s judges, Luis Moreno-Ocampo singled out Ahmad Muhammad Harun, now a state minister for humanitarian affairs who was state minister of the interior, along with Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman (also known as Ali Kushayb), a leader of the Darfur militia known as the Janjaweed, in a total of 51 crimes against humanity and war crimes. The filing marked the first accusations against named individuals as a prelude to a trial.

The chief prosecutor’s accusations — which fall short of a formal indictment — come after a 21-month investigation that led to 60 countries and focused on the worst crimes committed in 2003 and 2004. The prosecutor also said his office was expanding its probe to look at current crimes, and in a teleconference with foreign journalists, he warned that other Sudanese government officials could be held responsible.

“We will exonerate no one,” he said. “I did it with Harun, and I will follow the evidence wherever it is going.”

So far, the results of the investigation have been pretty meager, since Ali Kushayb is already in Sudanese custody and Harun is only a mid-level official. Hopefully, though, this report can start putting pressure on Khartoum by threatening to expand the accusations and start indicting some bigger, like Gosh, for example.

In cases like this, if there is no other way of squeezing Khartoum, I think it might be worth trading justice for an end to genocide. That is to say that I’d rather see a genocide stopped than see it finished and then maybe see its architects judged in the ICC after they’ve fallen from power. But at this point, that’s probably a false choice, because, at the end of the day, the “international community” hasn’t tried very hard to squeeze Khartoum.



  1. […] usual, this sort of action brings up the question of justice versus peace, which is always a difficult one. Those who support […]

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