Sudanese Vice President Urges U.N. to Reject Arrest Warrants
But Sudanese-born Omer Ismail of the Enough Project says the U.N. should not fall for what he calls Khartoum's blackmail
By: James Butty
Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha has called on the United Nations to reject the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against President Omar al-Bashir for allegedly masterminding a campaign of genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.
Addressing the ongoing General Assembly session in New York Monday, Mr. Taha said the involvement of the ICC is a threat to the peaceful settlement of the Darfur conflict.
Sudanese-born Omer Ismail, senior policy advisor for the Enough Project, an advocacy organization set up to highlight Darfur crisis, told VOA the international community should not fall for what he called Khartoum’s blackmail.
“The indictment by the International Criminal Court came as a result of the behavior of the government of Sudan and its president, (Mr.) Bashir. So, he’s coming now to blackmail the world basically and saying that the government will either get their way in delaying justice. Otherwise, they are not going to invest a penny in Darfur,” he said.
A “quorum” requirement in the South Sudan referendum could be extremely difficult to achieve, and failure to meet it may provide Khartoum with the best pretext for refusing to accept what will be an overwhelming vote for secession, writes Eric Reeves in this guest post. Read More »
In previous tribunals, conflicts were already over, the bodies were in the ground, and the court’s only task was to collect evidence and affix blame. In Sudan, this is far from true, writes James Bair in this guest post. Read More »
Disappointment hung in the air yesterday outside the Kenyan embassy in Washington D.C., where members of the Sudanese diaspora and human rights activists gathered to protest the Kenyan government’s recent reception of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Read More »
In the immediate aftermath of Sudan’s elections back in April, several potential flashpoints emerged. While the polls had passed generally peacefully in the South (at least at face value), the post-elections period has been marked by an escalation in tensions.
The issuance of a second arrest warrant for President Al-Bashir for three counts of genocide requires the international community to fully support the ICC and renew its efforts to apprehend him and all others wanted by the ICC for crimes committed in Darfur. The Government of Sudan should immediately turn over President al-Bashir to face trial in The Hague. Barring this unlikely cooperation, the United States and the international community should work together to ensure Bashir’s swift arrest.
After the ICC issued the first warrant for al-Bashir’s arrest in March 2009, President Bashir evicted more than a dozen international aid groups from Sudan, putting thousands of lives at risk. The international community did little to challenge this retaliation, and critically needed services, including aid for survivors of sexual violence, were lost and never replaced in Darfur. President Obama, the UN Security Council, and other world leaders must make it clear to President Bashir that any new retaliation against humanitarian efforts will be met with clear consequences. Sudanese civilians should not be targeted as justice is pursued for those who have died and suffered in Darfur.
The Bashir regime's decades of crimes must end. While risk of a return to full-scale, national war grows and a referendum for southern Sudanese self-determination draws near, the Obama administration should put in action the consequences and pressures it promised for the lack of measurable progress and continued backsliding on key benchmarks by the Government of Sudan and other parties. The United States also needs to intensify its diplomatic efforts to find a path to peace in Sudan, with support from President Obama and other senior members of his foreign policy team.
“Accountability is a fundamental component of sustainable peace in Sudan,” says John Prendergast, Co-Founder of the Enough Project. “President Obama should make abundantly clear his unequivocal support for peace rooted in justice in Sudan by sending the message that consequences will result from any retaliation against Sudanese civilians as a result of this warrant, and by building stronger international support for this warrant.”
“The American people are expecting President Obama to fulfill his campaign promises and forcefully support the ICC and protect civilians in Sudan,” says Mark Hanis, President of the Genocide Intervention Network. “The United States government should reaffirm its support for the ICC’s pursuit of justice in Darfur and should work together with UN Security Council and ICC member states to ensure the swift enforcement of this and all ICC arrest warrants for those accused of atrocities in Darfur, including al-Bashir.”
“The United States and broader international community must vigilantly monitor for any threats or acts of violence or other repression against civilians, Sudanese human rights activists, aid workers or peacekeepers,” says Mark Lotwis, Acting President of the Save Darfur Coalition. “While pushing for al-Bashir’s apprehension, the Obama administration must lead efforts to prevent a repeat of the merciless and cruel retaliation by the Khartoum regime last year.”
“Today’s decision comes at a perilous time for the Sudanese people,” said American Jewish World Service (AJWS) president Ruth Messinger. “The Obama administration’s vigilance in implementing the accountability mechanisms central to its Sudan policy is critical to ensure this decision is not used as a pretext to punish civilians and interrupt life-saving aid.”
Enough Project – Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough's strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a "3P" crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. Visit www.enoughproject.org.
Genocide Intervention Network –Genocide Intervention Network is working to build the first permanent anti-genocide constituency, mobilizing the political will to stop genocide when it occurs. Accessible online at www.GenocideIntervention.net, Genocide Intervention Network empowers individuals with the tools to stop genocide.
The Save Darfur Coalition – an alliance of more than 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations – raises public awareness about the ongoing crisis in Darfur and mobilizes a unified response to promote peace throughout the Darfur region and all of Sudan. The coalition’s member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races, religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of Sudan. Please join the movement at www.SaveDarfur.org.
American Jewish World Service – American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is an international development organization motivated by Judaism's imperative to pursue justice. AJWS is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality. Through grants to grassroots organizations, volunteer service, advocacy and education, AJWS fosters civil society, sustainable development and human rights for all people, while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship within the Jewish community. Visit www.ajws.org.