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Human Rights Abuses

Sudan indictment seen as ray of hope

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Africa  Jul 15, 2008

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is to be indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague were welcomed by a broad section of human rights activists from Eastern Africa and the rest of the continent with applause.

The past conflict of the Arabic North with the African Southern Sudan, in which militias and Khartoum troops are alleged to have committed grave human rights violations, has cost millions of innocent African lives at the time. Only once militarily stalled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and forced into a negotiated peace agreement, did Bashir’s attention then turn with a vengeance to Darfur, where his goons committed yet more acts of genocide. And once again these crimes against humanity were carried out and supported by their Arabic killer militias which the regime armed, wound up and let loose on helpless African women and children.

While Bashir is not likely to appear in court while hanging on as regime leader, he is expected to be eventually caught and appear at the ICC, where he can join the ranks of other war criminals under indictment or already in standing trial.

Meanwhile, the move also gives hope that the ICC will be able to do what the UN Security Council this week again failed to do with the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

China, incidentally also supporting Bashir, almost unconditionally in exchange for almost all of Sudan’s oil and other trade benefits and reportedly violating a UN arms embargo by supplying the Khartoum regime, while Russia again stand exposed to support a criminal regime in the face of overwhelming evidence of their crimes for political and economic advantages.

China, with no democratic credentials, and Russia, with very limited democratic credentials, have set themselves apart from civilized societies by using their veto at the Security Council vote in support of Mugabe’s killer regime.

However, the ICC can independently issue arrest warrants against Mugabe and his key hoodlums, which would effectively bar them from traveling abroad, where they could then be arrested and handed over to the court in The Hague for trial.

Unilateral sanctions from the West are also still a viable option, including giving some warnings to Mugabe’s closest allies in the neighboring countries to compel them expedite their own intervention for resolving the crisis unless they too want to be named and shamed.

The Sudan development serves also as a warning to other goon regimes, like the one in Burma that their clock is winding down and justice, while often slow and delayed, is eventually sure in coming.

Sudan indictment seen as ray of hope
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