Today, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
UN Disptatch has a great round-up of reactions, which they’ll be updating throughout the day but already includes thoughts from Kevin John Heller at Opinio Juris, Alex de Waal from Making Sense of Darfur, the International Crisis Group’s Nick Grono, Kate Cronin -Furman at Wronging Rights and Enough Project’s John Prendergast and Omer Ismail.
Reuters has a helpful round up of official responses:
SUDANESE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER MUSTAFA OSMAN ISMAIL: “They do not want Sudan to become stable.” “The court is only one mechanism of neo-colonialist policy used by the West against free and independent countries.”
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN ROBERT WOOD: “The United States believes those who have committed atrocities should be brought to justice.”
NTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE, JUAN MENDEZ: “The reality about the peace process for Darfur is that no serious peace process exists. We know from history that silence in the face of atrocities does not prevent further crimes. The warrant could be an opportunity for the first real progress in Darfur.”
The Enough Project’s blog also has a helpful round-up, which includes both news reports and official statements.
Much more below the jump.
Save Darfur issued a statement in response, calling the warrant a “game changer” for Sudan:
“After six years of destruction and violence in Darfur, today’s decision by the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for President Bashir is a game changing moment. It will now be much harder for Sudan’s allies in the U.N. Security Council, as well as other leaders of Sudan’s National Congress Party, to stand arm in arm with a wanted war criminal. The Obama administration should take advantage of this opportunity to lead a coordinated international effort to negotiate peace in Darfur, while ensuring immediate protection of civilians and support for the court’s pursuit of justice.
“First and foremost, the United States, other Security Council members, and regional world leaders must address the Khartoum regime’s recent threats of retaliatory violence and reports, as well as reports of possible military escalation by other parties to the conflict. World leaders must condemn these threats and make clear that such actions will be met with swift and severe consequences.
Sudanese and Diaspora leaders issued a letter of support for the ICC arrest warrant and justice in Darfur:
As concerned leaders of Darfuri and Sudanese diaspora organizations and communities, we would like to express our gratitude to the United Nations Security Council for authorizing and continuing to allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate crimes in Darfur. Without the Council’s support, we could not today be welcoming the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for the president of the Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. We equally commend the ICC for its commitment to justice for our people who have waited too long to see their concerns addressed.
Nobel laureates from the Nobel Women’s Initative released a statement (which unfortunately I can’t find on their site):
In the context of continued violence, hunger and repression in the Darfur region of Sudan, we six women Nobel Peace Laureates are encouraged by recent progress in the work of the International Criminal Court in Sudan.
We remain deeply concerned by ongoing attacks against humanitarian aid workers in government-controlled towns, continued use of rape as a tactic of war, and obstructions to international efforts to resolve the conflict. The situation in Darfur is still desperate, after almost six years of armed conflict.
We are convinced that justice will be a pillar of peace in the Sudan, as it will be globally.
Nicholas Kristof has some thoughtful analysis on his blog, which is already attracting a lot of comments:
So in the short-term, the situation will be messy. But the course we were on was failing. There was no movement toward serious peace negotiation, no prospect of Bashir leaving office, and the north-south agreement was fraying so that a larger war seemed likely. In the past, indictments against Milosevic and Charles Taylor both were the beginning of the end for them, and it’s reasonable to think that the indictment will increase the risk of a coup in Sudan. Arab tribes will keep a greater distance from Bashir. It may also be possible now to engineer a deal in which Bashir is given asylum in Libya with a few aides in exchange for the charges being dropped. China and Libya would have to be the key players in that deal, which would be good for all concerned (my main concern isn’t seeing Bashir punished; it’s seeing peace in Sudan).
The Sudanese Thinker has an open thread, which should attract some interesting comments from the Sudanese blog-o-sphere.