Who's Afraid of the ICC?

 
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The Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court, or ICC, has set an official date for the announcement of its decision concerning the July 2008 request of ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo for an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir, who has been accused on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. This announcement puts an end to the recent speculations that followed various news reports alleging that the ICC’s three-member chamber had decided to issue an arrest warrant for President Bashir.

Now that the world knows exactly when the decision will be announced, speculation has shifted to the Sudanese government’s possible reaction to the decision, and the plausible scenarios for the immediate future. Since Khartoum does not speak in unison, several “power centers” within the regime have begun releasing their own “test balloons” to gauge the reaction of the public, both domestically and abroad. 
 
One such statement is attributed to Salah Gosh, Sudan’s National Security and Intelligence Chief. Talking to the “international audience,” Mr. Gosh said:
 
We [the government] were Islamic extremists then became moderate and civilized believing in peace and life for everyone…However we will revert back to how we were if necessary. There is nothing any easier than that. 
 
And to his “local audience,” Gosh warned: 
 
Anyone who attempts to put his hands to execute [ICC] plans we will cut his hands, head and parts because it is a non-negotiable issue. 
 
Through his statements, Mr. Gosh reminds us how important the International Criminal Court case against President Bashir is to ending utter disregard for human rights in Sudan, and to stopping the madness of a regime that is like a snake: it may change its skin, but the venom remains.

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