SUDAN WATCH: U.S. official Johnnie Carson says Sudan's Bashir should face ICC charges

Thursday, July 02, 2009

U.S. official Johnnie Carson says Sudan's Bashir should face ICC charges

According to AllAfrica's website, AllAfrica conducted an interview with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson. Here below is a copy of the part that relates to Sudan and was picked up by Sudan Tribune [July 02, 2009: US calls on Sudan president to stand before ICC] and reprinted by Ethiopian Review [July 02, 2009: U.S. senior officials calls on Sudan president to stand before ICC].  Note that the author of the piece is not named.

From AllAfrica INTERVIEW (Washington, DC) 01 July 2009: Africa: Obama Administration Tackling Wide Range of African Issues - Johnnie Carson
The administration's point person for Africa, Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson, who has been on the job since May 7, says the Obama team is now fully engaged on a range of issues.

In this first AllAfrica interview with the assistant secretary, we explore some of the challenges for United States policies towards Africa. An upcoming conversation will discuss other challenges, other countries - and the progress and potential of Africa in this decade.

On Sudan, following the multi-party talks last week in Washington, convened by President Obama's special envoy for Sudan, Scott Gration, how has the administration decided to engage with the government headed by President Omar al-Bashir, who faces an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) - but also is key to resolving the crisis in Darfur and the north-south conflict?

I look at it as engaging with the government broadly to achieve important objectives that we share with many in Sudan, both north and south, and with many across Africa and the international community. We think that it is absolutely critical that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005, be fully implemented, and that the people of southern Sudan have a right, in 2011, to hold a referendum which will determine their future.

We think it is also important that the issues of the boundary between the north and south be resolved. One of the more positive things to come out of this very successful conference is a commitment on both sides to accept the arbitration ruling on the border of Abyei. Every part of the CPA agreement should be fully implemented.

Gen. Gration has been trying to stop the humanitarian nightmare that has existed in Darfur for far too long and to help to bring about a long-term political settlement in the Darfur crisis. We should use our diplomatic power as effectively as we can to help bring a solution to each of these problems. There's no question that we're going to have to work with the government of Sudan. It is both a part of the problem and part of the solution. Notwithstanding all of this, an arrest warrant has been issued for Bashir by the ICC for war crimes in Darfur. He should do the right thing and face those charges.
Note that the U.S.A., along with Sudan and a handful of other countries, has not signed up to the ICC because it wants to protect against any U.S. citizens being brought before the Court. So what Mr Carson is saying sounds to me like nonsense. Why should he expect a Sudanese citizen to do what no U.S. citizen is expected to do, I wonder. The only reason I can think of is that he is spinning the media in order to sound like he is making the right noises to satisfy Save Darfur Coalition.



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