Πέμπτη, 5 Μαρτίου 2009

War criminals... far away from Sudan !!


The Complexities Behind the al-Bashir Case
The arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is a victory for the court's top prosecutor !!!!?? . But the chances that the case will ever come to trial are slim. The international arrest warrant issued for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court is without question a feather in the cap of its top prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. But what is the point of indicting someone when the chances that he will ever stand trial are close to none? Sudan doesn't recognize the ICC and refuses to cooperate with it. Unless al-Bashir travels to a country that does recognize the ICC, and gets arrested, or finds himself betrayed at home by his own people, he has nothing to fear from the ICC. A man protests against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague."The court must show what it stands for in this case," says Göran Sluiter, a professor of international criminal law at the University of Amsterdam. "Until now, the image was that the ICC has mainly gone after rebel movements. It needs to be seen as going after whoever bears the greatest responsibility for these crimes." The situation in Darfur, where at least 200,000 people have been killed and millions have been displaced, is the first to have been referred to the ICC by the United Nations Security Council. Past referrals -- Uganda, Congo and the Central African Republic -- have always come from the governments of those countries. In all three of those cases, the ICC's prosecutor's office took action only against rebel movements, even though the governments had also been accused of atrocities. In the case of Darfur, the Security Council asked the ICC to investigate the violence regardless of who perpetrated it. When Ocampo announced in June 2008 that he intended to prosecute the president himself -- on genocide charges, no less -- there was considerable uproar from many Arabic and African countries, China and even from some analysts and activists involved with Darfur. They feared the arrest warrant would only exacerbate the violence. There was criticism from legal circles as well. In January, Sir Geoffrey Nice, who was the prosecutor in the Milosevic trial, filed an amicus curiae brief with the ICC on behalf of an umbrella group of Sudanese unions and activists (who had collected the signatures of a million Sudanese), asking the court not to issue an arrest warrant against al-Bashir. The leaders of three ethnic groups in Sudan -- who, Ocampo said, were the main target of the genocide -- also supported the call. The risk of more violence was simply too great, and an arrest warrant would further discredit the ICC's image in Sudan, according to the critics.
Security Council Resolution Sudan, the Arab League, the African Union, Russia and China all hope the Security Council will use its prerogative to suspend al-Bashir's indictment in the interest of peace. But three of the five permanent members of the Security Council -- the US, France and Britain -- are likely to oppose any such move."It would look pretty bad," says Sluiter, "if the Security Council referred a case to the ICC only to stop prosecution once it reaches the president. An arrest warrant is very important. There are malicious and complex politics being played out in the case."

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