Justice Off Course
Julie Flint and I have an Oped in today’s Washington Post.
Is the International Criminal Court losing its way in Darfur? We fear it is. Chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s approach is fraught with risk — for the victims of the atrocities in Darfur, for the prospects for peace in Sudan and for the prosecution itself.
We are worried by two aspects of Ocampo’s approach, as presented to the U.N. Security Council early this month. One concerns fact: Sudan’s government has committed heinous crimes, but Ocampo’s comparison of it with Nazi Germany is an exaggeration. The other concerns political consequences: Indicting a senior government figure would be an immense symbolic victory for Darfurians. But Darfur residents need peace, security and deliverable justice more than they need a moment of jubilation. And with President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his men still in power, a high-level indictment would probably damage all these objectives.
Yes it seems the ICC is losing its way in Darfur. The conflict was not and is not easy to resolve it by indicting senior officials. By doing so the ICC might lose its credibility as a legal body that victims can rely on. Indicting senior figure isn’t a victory to darfurians because at the end of the day won’t solve the problem or end their suffering it may complicate situation more than now. Moreover, it is really shame for a respected legal body to enter into such kind of accusations when comparing with Nazi’s. This is really outrage and is not accepted at all. It needs to be regretted for if this body respects itself.
I guess the best way international community can do is to find a viable solution that takes into account the needs of ordinary citizen. Nonetheless, taking concerns of politicians on board needs a careful approach as they have their own ways of exposing theirs which may be subjective sometines.
Here is another viewpoint from today’s Washington Post: The ICC, on Course in Darfur
In concluding that the International Criminal Court is mishandling its cases involving Darfur, Julie Flint and and Alex de Waal [“Justice Off Course in Darfur,” op-ed, June 28] misconstrued the status of those cases at the court and inaccurately described the relevant role of the ICC’s chief prosecutor for Darfur, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
The U.N. Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the court to give it jurisdiction that it would otherwise not have had over the atrocities there. The Security Council is the right place for the political decisions about dealing with the government of Sudan that Mr. de Waal and Ms. Flint urged on the prosecutor.
If it wishes, the Security Council can change its mind and require the court to defer further action in the Darfur cases. Instead, after hearing the prosecutor on June 5, the Security Council issued a presidential statement praising his work on Darfur and calling on the international community to help enforce ICC arrest warrants outstanding for alleged atrocities in Darfur.
The ICC charges that the subjects of those warrants, Ahmad Muhammad Harun and Ali Kushayb, committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2003-04. This is precisely the time Ms. Flint and Mr. de Waal described as the “firestorm” period of maximum violence in Darfur. If the violence has died down or changed in form, that does not change the reality of the horror of those crimes nor the urgency of holding accountable those most responsible for them.
American Non-Governmental Organizations
Coalition for the International Criminal Court