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In the six years since the outbreak of rebellion in Darfur, the Sudanese army and its militia allies have committed war crimes on a horrific scale. ... By issuing an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, who has presided over the carnage, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has sent a robust signal to would-be war criminals throughout Africa and the wider world. ... What happens next, however, is less clear cut. In the most optimistic scenario, Mr Bashir's indictment will act as a catalyst for change. Financial Times, 3-5-09
Colonel Samir Jaja's orders to the assembled soldiers before their dawn attack on the village were absolutely clear: "Don't leave anybody alive. If we leave these people in this place, they will support the rebels against the government. The area must be emptied so the rebels can't find any help and have to leave the country." ... "Rape the women, kill the children. Leave nothing," Jaja said. 'Rape the women, kill the children': ex-Sudanese soldier recalls Darfur raid Guardian, 3-4-09
Darfur Crisis: The Hague's Bashir Indictment Pressures Not Only the Thugocracy, But also the Great Nations of the West, & the Moslem World
By Richard Power
The World Court's indictment of the leader of the Sudanese Thugocracy (for war crimes and crimes against humanity) is welcome news. I experience a grim amusement in listening to the fretting of those who say this action will lead to chaos or bloodshed. Where have these weak-kneed people been living for the last several years? Certainly not in the Hell of Darfur. No, they live in distant cities amidst all of the comforts of civilization and they are disturbed that their busy schedules will be disrupted and their distractions will come to an end.
Yes, perhaps the moment of truth has come at last.
Mia Farrow reports: "The Government of Sudan has ordered the expulsion of six to ten humanitarian groups from Darfur, including Oxfam, Solidarities, MSF Holland, CARE, MSF France, ACF and Mercy Corps. Armed soldiers are going door to door seizing assets. Some are suggesting that Kalma camp will be stripped bare...90,000 people."
The World Court's correct and courageous decision to issue the first indictment of a sitting leader of a government will not only put pressure on the Sudanese Thugocracy.
The indictment will also put pressure on the great nations of the West -- with Bush-Cheney gone, and an indictment in hand, they no longer have any excuse not to act.
The looming confrontation will also put pressure on the Moslem world. The hypocrisy on human rights will be exposed for all to see. Will it continue to make the mistake of those it condemns, and only see the abominations it chooses to see?
In the six years since the outbreak of rebellion in Darfur, the Sudanese army and its militia allies have committed war crimes on a horrific scale. They have used rape systematically to dehumanise women from ethnic groups associated with the revolt. They have burnt thousands of villages, killed tens if not hundreds of thousands of people and driven millions from their homes.
By issuing an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, who has presided over the carnage, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has sent a robust signal to would-be war criminals throughout Africa and the wider world. This is the first time the court has indicted a sitting head of state. As such it shows that no office, however high, is beyond the reach of international law. Not surprisingly, human rights activists are celebrating what they hope is a seismic shift towards ending the impunity of war criminals.
What happens next, however, is less clear cut. In the most optimistic scenario, Mr Bashir's indictment will act as a catalyst for change. Financial Times, 3-5-09
The International Criminal Court sought the arrest Wednesday of Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir for war crimes in Darfur, issuing the first ever warrant against a sitting head of state.
"Today, pre-trial chamber one of the International Criminal Court ... issued a warrant for the president of Sudan for war crimes and crimes against humanity," court spokeswoman Laurence Blairon said.
The 65-year-old Beshir will face five counts of crimes against humanity and two of war crimes. However Beshir will not face charges of genocide as requested by the ICC's chief prosecutor, the spokeswoman added.
Speaking at a press conference, Blairon said Beshir bore responsibility for "exterminating, raping and forcibly transfferring a large numbers of civilians" from the western Sudanese region where a six-year conflict has cost several hundred thousand lives. Agence France Press, 3-4-09
I encourage you to follow events in Darfur on Mia Farrow's site, it is the real-time journal of a humanitarian at work; the content is compelling, insightful and fiercely independent.
For a Words of Power Archive of posts on the Crisis in Darfur, click here.
Here are other sites of importance:
Dream for Darfur
Enough: The Project to End Genocide and Mass Atrocities
Genocide Intervention Network
Divest for Darfur.
Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.
Darfur, Divestment, Enough, UN, Genocide, Mia Farrow, Dream for Darfur, Sudan, Investors Against Genocide, Richard Power, Words of Power