How Can Bashir be Arrested?
I am in total agreement with you that the arrest and indictment of Omer El-Bashir will not bring peace to Sudan or bring an end to the problem of Darfur, however, I will not deny that I welcomed the decision of the ICC, and will definitely appreciate and celebrate the arrest of El-Bashir because of his role and responsibility, as president and commander in chief, in what is happening in Sudan in general, and in Darfur in specific. His arrest will also send a very clear message to his likes and sets the route for the other officials to be brought to justice in a similar mode. On the other hand, I am quite aware that, the failure to arrest El-Bashir, after this warrant, will have disastrous effects on justice and will drastically erode the credibility of the ICC.
Since the issuing of the arrest warrant, the government of Sudan had repeatedly indicated that they don’t care about this warrant and that El-Bashir will not change his travel plans to attend some meetings outside of Sudan. In this regard, I would like to ask for clarification about the possibility of three scenarios and what legal and other grounds that can make them possible or impossible:
(1) Interception of the presidential plane by some jet fighter fighters while Omer El-Bashir is traveling outside of Sudan and while flying in the skies of a country that signed the ICC agreement.
(2) A case similar to “Operation Just Cause” on 12/20/1989 to invade (on very small scale) and arrest President Noriega of Panama, whereby some secret service agents could plan and implement a covert operation to arrest El-Bashir inside of Sudan and take him to the ICC.
(3) The international community scales up support to some opposition factions to topple the government in Sudan, replace it, and hand over Omer El-Bashir to the ICC.
The first two options you propose would, I am sure, be not only illegal under international law but highly controversial and risky.
The third option is the only realistic one, though I would add that it is much more likely that it is members of the government itself, especially the security services, who would be the ones to carry out this action. It is this scenario that the ICC and many human rights advocates seem to be relying upon.
This seems to me a very odd proposal, for several reasons. One, it is advocating a non-constitutional change in government. The Interim National Constitution is a precious document, and is it worth sacrificing it for the sake of one man? Second, the incentives for senior members of the NCP and security services to depose the President and hand him over to the ICC are very uncertain. If the President is betrayed in this way he will be bitter and he has quite enough information to implicate those who depose him. Third, those who might launch a coup from within the regime are not democrats and indeed are just as responsible for everything that has happened in the last 20 years as Bashir himself. In fact, for most of this time, all of us were describing Bashir as the figurehead for others and not a dictator at all. Is the outcome of this exercise in “justice” to be to bring the real security chief powermongers to the presidency? And fourth, if the idea is to support a military action by JEM or the SPLA, the implication is war in Khartoum, which would be very ugly indeed.
I cannot fault your super analysis of Ahmed’s robust proposals. Although Ahmed put forward some pragmatic options, they are not only dangerous, but equally extralegal and therefore illegitimate. But I think the ICC decision is a good leverage for world leaders to call on Bashir to step aside. Asking aid agencies to leave Sudan should earn Khartoum an automatic suspension from all world and regional bodies this country belongs to. African and Arab leaders should speak up and advise him to allow all aid workers back. The leaders of the world should start dealing with the country’s opposition as a parallel government in order to paralyze Bashir’s blind hold to power.
The arrest won’t happen anytime soon. Bashir has to be out of power first. An election is supposed to happen this year (I’d heard that it would be sometime between January and April but then the UN advised a delay until November for logistical reasons) which, if it is remotely fair, he would surely lose. The new government would need some time to establish a sound footing before trying to nab him. Milosevic was arrested several months after losing office. It will probably take at least that long for Bashir.
When I raised these possibilities, they also seemed to me as fictional, however, I read in Sudan Tribune today, that France and other EU countries are seriously considering and supporting the option of intercepting Bashir flight to Qatar towards the end of this month. See the link: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article30521). No comment.