Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Darfur dilemma

An editorial in today's LeMonde raises important questions about the Darfur case unfolding at the International Criminal Court. Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has named a colleague of Sudan's President and a leader of the Janjaweed militia as suspects in atrocities that have led to the deaths of 200,000 and displacement of another 2.5 million persons. The aim is to bring the most culpable to justice, and so to bring an end to the violence. "This will not be an easy thing," LeMonde writes. "Up to now ICC investigators have not worked in Darfur, where the security of their witnesses cannot be assured." It recalls too that an ICC investigation begun at the request of Uganda now is hampered by moves toward a peace pact entailing amnesty. LeMonde ends by casting blame, asking whether the United States gives cooperation with Sudan in its campaign against terrorism a higher priority than bringing peace in Darfur.
The editorial fails to find fault everywhere it is due. No permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, which authorized the ICC investigation fully 2 years ago, puts solving Darfur at the top of its foreign policy agenda. A mix of national self-interests has the international community at an impasse, despite Darfurians dire and highly publicized suffering. Solving Darfur requires concerted use of many resources. No court should be made to take on the problem all on its own.


Amelia Earhart said...

These questions are particularly acute because ICC investigators face not only physical danger but also open state opposition. The Sudan Tribute reports that Sudan's justice minister has announced that Sudan does not accept the ICC's jurisdiction and will not turn over any identified suspects to the court. Opponents of the ICC have long questioned its ability to secure necessary state cooperation in arresting and extraditing suspects, and so in identifying these suspects over Sudan's protests, the ICC has taken a bold but risky step for such a young institution.

F said...

All true, although it will be interesting to see whether the ICJ judgment from the other day might result in some action....I doubt it somehow, but it's an interesting proposition to ponder.