WASHINGTON – The International Criminal Court’s issuance of an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity opens the door for the United States to help bring peace to the war-torn nation, said author and anti-genocide activist John Prendergast.
“I think this is a tremendous opportunity for the Obama administration to name a special envoy and get on the ground in Darfur and implement a peace agreement,” Prendergast said during a nationwide teleconference put together by the Enough Project shortly after the court’s March 4 action.
Today saw a flood of news analyses, press releases, editorials, blog posts, and action alerts in response to the International Criminal Court’s issuance of an arrest warrant against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.
What follows is our roundup of and our take on today’s developments.
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The International Criminal Court's issuance of an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity opens the door for the United States to help bring peace to the war-torn nation, said author and anti-genocide activist John Prendergast.
NAIROBI, Kenya - The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir involving atrocities in Darfur, marking a milestone for the 7-year-old war-crimes court but opening an uncertain chapter for one of Africa's most fragile nations.
It's the first time that the court - the world's first permanent war-crimes tribunal - has called for the arrest of a head of state. Bashir is the first sitting president to be sought involving war crimes since Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic and Liberia's Charles Taylor, who were charged by other, temporary tribunals.
Dan summarizes some of the reaction to the warrant handed down today by the ICC. (CFR has another good summary here). Essentially, the criticism of the ICC’s decision raises two arguments: (1) that charging Al-Bashir is bad for the “peace process,” and (2) that other people do bad things too, so charging Al-Bashir is tantamount to unfairly singling him out. While it is, of course, not a pre-trial chamber’s job to consider policy consequences, the Security Council will be deciding whether to defer the warrant, and it will properly be primarily concerned with the security implications. Thus, it’s worth considering both primary criticisms. After some thought, I don’t believe either holds up to scrutiny.