International Court Under Unusual Fire.Africans Defend Sudan’s Leadr

 

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 30, 2009

 

UNITED NATIONS — When Luis Moreno-Ocampo charged Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with war crimes last year, the International Criminal Court prosecutor was hailed by human rights advocates as the man who could help bring justice to Darfur.

Today, Moreno-Ocampo appears to be the one on trial, with even some of his early supporters questioning his prosecutorial strategy, his use of facts and his personal conduct. Bashir and others have used the controversy to rally opposition to the world’s first permanent criminal court, a challenge that may jeopardize efforts to determine who is responsible for massive crimes in Darfur.

At issue is how to strike a balance between the quest for justice in Darfur and the pursuit of a political settlement to end an ongoing civil war in the western region of Sudan. In recent months, African and Arab leaders have said the Argentine lawyer’s pursuit of the Sudanese president has undercut those peace prospects.

Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and Gabon’s Jean Ping, the two leaders of the African Union, are mounting a campaign to press African states to withdraw from the treaty body that established the international tribunal. “The attacks against the court by African and Arab governments in the last nine months are the most serious threat to the ICC” since the United States declared its opposition to it in 2002, said William Pace, who heads the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, an alliance of 2500 organizations.

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Moreno-Ocampo defended his work in a lengthy interview, saying that his office offers the brightest hope of bringing justice to hundreds of thousands of African victims and halting mass murder in Darfur. “It is normal: When you prosecute people with a lot of power, you have problems,” said Moreno-Ocampo, who first gained prominence by prosecuting Argentine generals for ordering mass murder in that country’s “dirty war.”

The International Criminal Court was established in July 2002 to prosecute perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, building on temporary courts in Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

Since he was appointed in 2003, the prosecutor has brought war crimes charges against 13 individuals in northern Uganda, Congo, the Central African Republic and Sudan, including a July 2008 charge against Bashir of orchestrating genocide in Darfur. Pretrial judges approved the prosecutors’ request for an arrest warrant for Bashir on March 4 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but rejected the genocide charge.

The Bush administration initially opposed the court, citing concerns of frivolous investigations of American soldiers engaged in the fight against terrorism. But President Obama — whose top advisers are divided over whether Sudan continues to commit genocide — has been far more supportive of the court.

The violence in Darfur began in early 2003 when rebel movements took up arms against the Islamic government, citing discrimination against the region’s tribes. The prosecutor has charged that Bashir then orchestrated a campaign of genocide that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Darfurian civilians from disease and violence, and driven about 2 million more from their homes.

Bashir has openly defied the court, saying that it has only strengthened his standing. “The court has been isolated and the prosecutor stands naked,” said Sudan’s U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad.

The prosecutor’s case “has polarized Sudanese politics and weakened those who occupy the middle ground of compromise and consensus,” said Rodolphe Adada, a former Congolese foreign minister who heads a joint African Union-U.N. mission in Darfur.

In remarks to the U.N. Security Council in April, Adada challenged Moreno-Ocampo’s characterization of the situation as genocide and said that only 130 to 150 people were dying each month in Darfur, far fewer than the 5,000 that Moreno-Ocampo says die each month from violence and other causes. “In purely numeric terms it is a low-intensity conflict,” Adada said.

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Darfur / Security situation is calm



Darfur / Security situation is calm

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, June 26, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Daily press briefing by the office of the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.
The African Union Panel on Darfur has concluded its third mission to Darfur, says the UN-AU Mission there (UNAMID).
The Mission says that the Panel, chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, conducted 10 days of public hearings on the conflict in order to determine ways to speed up the peace process and create conditions for justice and reconciliation.
The Mission says the Panel met with representatives of political parties, civil society, rebel movements, ethnic communities and groups of internally displaced persons in both Khartoum and half a dozen towns across Darfur.
Meanwhile, the UN-African Union chief mediator for Darfur, Djibril Bassolé, was in El Fasher for consultations with Henry Anyidoho, the Deputy Joint Special Representative of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur, and other senior officials. Bassolé briefed the Mission leadership on the Darfur peace process and the outcome of the Doha talks between the Government of Sudan and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Bassolé also met with local officials, both native Darfuris and Arab, to hear their views and consider options going forward.
According to the Mission, the security situation is calm today across Darfur.

SOURCE

United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General

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US Envoy :Darfur experiencing ‘remnants of genocide’

Sudan Envoy: Darfur experiencing ‘remnants of genocide’ — Says aid capacity back near 100% June 17, 2009 12:22 PM ABC News’ Kirit Radia reports: President Obama’s Special Envoy for Sudan Scott Gration, a retired Air Force general who grew up in Africa, today refused to describe the situation in Darfur as ongoing genocide. “What we see is the remnants of genocide,” he said, implying the wartorn region’s worst violence is behind it. “It doesn’t appear that it is a coordinated effort that was similar to what we had in 2003 to 2006,” Gration of the violence. His hesitation stems from disagreements within the Obama administration, and pressure from interest groups like the Save Darfur Coalition. Sources say Gration has reported back from his trip to Darfur earlier this year that the level of violence in Darfur does not currently warrant being called genocide, but officials like UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who served as top Africa official at the State Department during the Rwandan genocide, insist the situation should still be labeled as such. In fact, just two days ago during a speech in Vienna, Austria Ambassador Rice described the situation in Darfur as “genocide.” At a press conference in Germany on June 5, a day after his major speech to the Muslim world speech, President Obama referenced his comments on Darfur in the speech as “genocide that’s taking place.” The Bush administration frequently used genocide to describe the violence in the region after then-Secretary of State Colin Powell branded it as such in 2004. Gration’s approach appears to be more holistic than that of his predecessors, whose attention was mainly on the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region. Instead, Gration says he is working to address all of Sudan’s problems, but it appeared his emphasis was on the deteriorating conditions in Southern Sudan, where a tenuous peace deal that ended Sudan’s bloody civil war is up for referendum in 19 months. Gration said violence in the south has seen an “uptick” and is now in fact greater than the violence in Darfur. Gration said that aid capacity in Darfur is back up near 100% and may soon exceed capacity before 13 aid groups were expelled earlier this year. Sudan has allowed remaining aid groups in Darfur to beef up capacity and has allowed three new groups to come in and pick up the slack. “We’ve been able to work with the government of Sudan and NGOs and United Nations to restore humanitarian assistance capacity in Darfur,” he said. “We’ve essentially closed the humanitarian gap that existed in Darfur when the 13 NGOs were expelled.” He said much of the capacity now is emergency work, Gration warned, but he said he hopes soon that will be transferred to sustained aid projects.

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ICC: The politicization of international criminal justice

Sudan / ICC: The politicization of international criminal justice

Lecture of the President of the International Progress Organization

Khartoum / Vienna, 7 April 2009
P/RE/21598c-is

In a lecture delivered at an international conference in Khartoum (Sudan), the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, warned of the danger of the politicization of international criminal justice due to the special privilege given to the United Nations Security Council under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to refer situations to the Court in cases where it has no jurisdiction sui generis.

The conference was organized by the General Sudanese Students Union. Lectures were given by Professors from the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt and Sudan. Representatives of the World Federation of Democratic Youth, the Arab Students Union, the Federation of Students from Non-aligned Countries, the All-India Students Federation, and delegates of national and regional students organizations from Africa and the Arab world joined their colleagues from Sudanese universities in a wide-ranging debate on the implications of the ICC decisions and Security Council resolutions for peace and security in Sudan and in the regional and global context.

The President of the I.P.O. warned that politicization “may lead to a systemic failure of the International Criminal Court before it has even been able to prove its worth and credibility vis-à-vis the international community. Selectively prosecuting cases from formerly colonized countries of sub-Saharan Africa while choosing not to use prosecutorial authority in cases that affect the interests of influential States Parties – and non-States Parties – to the Rome Statute is definitely not the way to convince the international public of the worthiness of the goals pursued by the International Criminal Court.”

Addressing the President of the Republic of Sudan, Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, at a public meeting on the sidelines of the conference, Professor Koechler recalled the debates at the Inter-religious Dialogue Conference “Peace for All,” held in Khartoum in the year 1994, and their meeting, several years later,  in the course of the President’s visit to Vienna (Austria) for peace negotiations with the President of Uganda. He expressed the hope that the spirit of dialogue and rational analysis will prevail over the emotions of the moment on all sides and that the concerned regional organizations – the League of Arab States, the African Union, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference – will co-ordinate their diplomatic efforts with the Republic of Sudan.

The former President of the Republic of Sudan, Field Marshal Abdul Rahman Sowar al-Dahab, Chairman of the Board of the Islamic Dawa Organization, attended Professor Koechler’s lecture in the Khartoum Friendship Hall. In a separate meeting at the headquarters of the organization, Field Marshall Sowar el-Dahab and the President of the I.P.O. discussed the situation in Darfur.

The International Progress Organization was the first international NGO that raised the issue of double standards in international criminal justice after the two Security Council resolutions on the collective deferral of investigations or prosecutions in connection with United Nations peacekeeping missions (2002, 2003), and the referral of the situation in Darfur (Sudan) in 2005.

Hans Köchler, “Global Justice or Global Revenge? The ICC and the Politicization of International Criminal Justice”

  • Double Standards in International Criminal Justice — The Case of Sudan: I.P.O. Statement of 2 April 2005
  • Global Justice or Global Revenge? International Criminal Justice at the Crossroads (2003)
  • Hans Köchler: Universal Justice and International Power Politics: Ideal vs. Real
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Why the world’s most powerful prosecutor should resign

By Joshua Rozenberg

The story began nearly two years ago when Christian Palme, 56, a media spokesman in the prosecutor’s office, submitted an internal staff complaint alleging that Mr Moreno-Ocampo had engaged in “improper conduct” with a female journalist from South Africa while on an official mission to the country. Mr Palme claimed that the prosecutor “had taken that journalist’s car keys and would not return them to her unless she agreed to sexual intercourse”.

According to the whistle-blower, Mr Moreno-Ocampo had “committed serious misconduct … by committing the crime of rape, or sexual assault, or sexual coercion, or sexual abuse”.

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Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes

 

Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes Target: Attorney General Eric Holder Sponsored by: Democrats.com Now is our time to pursue truth and justice. Please join us in calling on President Obama’s administration to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in torture and other war crimes. In the final days of their administration, President Bush and Vice President Cheney admitted they authorized “enhanced interrogation” of prisoners, specifically including waterboarding. But “enhanced interrogation” is simply a euphemism for torture, which was so severe that it caused the deaths of at least 70 prisoners. As Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, the Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison stated: “After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.” The United States is a representative democracy. The actions of our government officials are done in the name of its citizens. We are outraged that torture been committed in our name. We urge Attorney General Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor to prosecute those responsible for torture to the fullest extent of the law.

 

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/365123479?z00m=19361667

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Summit rejects ICC warrant

Summit rejects ICC warrant
Arab News

 concluded their annual summit in Doha yesterday voicing support for Sudanese President Omar Bashir and rejecting an international arrest warrant issued against him for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

“We reiterate our solidarity with Sudan and our rejection of the measure of the …. International Criminal Court against His Excellency (Bashir),” said a final statement read at the summit.

Bashir, who captured the limelight by attending the summit in defiance of the warrant, told Arab leaders during the conference to strongly reject his indictment.

Bashir already enjoys strong backing from Arab countries that have repeatedly denounced the arrest warrant issued March 4 by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In his final remarks, Bashir thanked the assembled Arab leaders for their support against the court’s “unjust” decision.

“We will spare no effort in establishing peace and security in every corner of Sudan,” the president asserted. The Sudanese president arrived here Sunday unexpectedly after rumors that he might avoid the summit in order to spare Qatar embarrassment. He is on his fourth trip abroad since the ICC issued its indictment.

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