Monday, February 26, 2007

ICC and Darfur - Time running out for Sudanese killers

Tomorrow (Feb 27) the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands (homeland of Jan Pronk) is to release the names of Darfur war crimes suspects. Black Kush, a Sudanese blogger (from Darfur, according to Werner) writes of time running out and asks:
The important point is what this all mean for Darfur? Will it help resolve the Darfur crisis or make it worse? Will the Sudan agree to hand over the suspects? Will Sudan later agree for the UN force?

I just have a feeling it is going to have the reverse effect . . .
I agree. What do you think? This blog receives visits from the ICC. Have your say here, they are listening. I'm still thinking about this issue, victims of crimes and forgiveness. It seemed right that Saddam was returned to Iraq. If the Iraqi people had decided to jail and/or free him, fine by me. At least the atrocities committed were aired and documented. I do not support the death penalty. Hess in Spandau, and all that went with it over so many years, wasn't a bad thing for victims, and relatives and friends of dead victims, to see.

After three years of blogging Darfur, I am still trying to understand why Sudanese people are still killing each other these past 50 years, holding their country back and to ransom. I'd like to see the ICC advise Sudan on how to make its justice system world class, credible and respected. People under arrest deserve to go through proper procedures and quickly, without fear of disappearing into a black hole. Those who hamper emergency aid or physically attack any aid worker and/or peacekeeper in the field (anywhere in the world, not just Sudan) should be jailed for life and publicly shamed as cretinous barbarians.

As for the Janjaweed and rebels I do not know who they are, not sure that Khartoum knows either. Surely, Khartoum can't disarm the so-called Janjaweed and Arab tribal leaders without fear of retaliation, if they could, they would have done so by now. Sudan's Arab tribal leaders are a law unto themselves, it's how things work there. They lord it over huge swathes of Sudan, ruling through fear and benevolence. Sudan is a country (I can't emphasise this enough) the size of Europe, with just as much diversity. It took years for the British government to sort out Northern Ireland where horrendous killings and conflict had gone on for hundreds of years.

What is going on in Darfur is far more complex than the media and activists lead us to believe and I feel they are doing the people of Sudan a disservice. Read this blog and you will see why. As if. These days, most people want little sound bytes that don't involve much reading or homework. "Stop genocide in Darfur" is easier to understand than "stop tribalism, desertification and droughts in Sudan" (or, in other words, too many people in the wrong place). I'm still pondering the Arab v African thingy and still don't get it. Everyone loves Sudan and its beauty. Great weather for growing food and stuff. Could be wonderful for tourists from all over the world.

The way I see it, Sudan has a serious national identity problem requiring charismatic leadership. I can see why Sudan, home to millions of uneducated villagers and nomads, is ruled by a stick. The Sudanese government (incuding South Sudan) is doing a good job of holding it all together. Better the devil you know than the one you don't. The shambolic rebels and their slippery leaders and child soldiers stopping aid from reaching those in need, could do worse if their coup succeeds.

I'd like to see a World Law that bars gun toting rebels anywhere in the world from working in government, for life.


Photo: Arab tribal leaders (from left) Ramadhan Daju Hassan, Mohammed Idris Maghrib and former member of parliament Obeid Habullah Dico calling for peace in West Darfur, Sudan. Source: Sudan Watch entry Sep 26, 2004.

Libyan leader Moammer Gaddafi

Photo: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is greeted by rebel, tribal and opposition Sudanese leaders from Darfur at his tent in Tripoli, Libya, Wednesday, May 11, 2005. Two main rebel groups in Sudan's Darfur declared Monday their commitment to a cease-fire and to unconditionally resuming talks with the Sudanese government. (AP/Yousef Al-Ageli/Sudan Watch archive)

Soldiers believed to be Janjaweed

Photo: Soldiers believed to be Janjaweed (BBC/Sudan Watch archives)


Photo: Sultan Timan Deby, the traditional ruler of Bahai - a Chadian settlement and refugee camp on the border with Sudan's Darfur region - is pictured in the desert outpost of Bahai, Chad Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007. Tribal leaders and local officials in Chad are pushing hard for a U.N. peacekeeping force to be deployed to stop violence and protect refugees spilling over from desperate Darfur into next-door Sudan. (AP Photo/Alfred de Montesquiou)


Photo: Displaced Sudanese (Source: Soldier of Africa blog)

Alfredo in Kalma

God help the children of Sudan and please return the Norwegian Refugee Council to Kalma Camp in Darfur, home to 93,000 displaced Sudanese.


A prayer for the janjaweed rape babies
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Feb 26 2007 AFP report (via ST) - Sudan rejects ICC authority over Darfur

Feb 26 2007 Sudan Tribune report - Sudan sets up special court to try Darfur criminals

Feb 26 2007 Reuters report (via Alarab) - Sudan suspicious of UN Darfur plan - "Resolution 1706 of the U.N. Security Council actually confirmed our suspicion because the content of the resolution places Sudan under international trusteeship of the United Nations," [Sudanese president] Bashir said at a press conference in Addis Ababa. "That plan to transform the peacekeeping job in Darfur from African Union (AU) to United Nations held a hidden agenda aimed at putting Sudan under the United Nations trusteeship." He said the AU force deployed in Darfur had been doing an "excellent job" until the Abuja agreement was signed. "Immediately after the signing of the agreement, talks shifted into transforming the responsibilities of the AU force to an international peacekeeping force," he said in Addis Ababa [today] where he attended a heads of state meeting on Somalia. "Our position was to maintain AU force to keep security in Darfur and to be supported logistically and financially by the U.N.," he added.


John Greenman said...

I recently returned from 6 weeks of working with an incredible doctor from the USA, in Fangak, South Sudan.
The people of Fangak, while blessed with relative security (relative to far-away Darfur) must still deal with the insecurity of little or no local government, no organized sanitation, one tired bore-hole hand pump for water, no educational facilities, no electricity, no roads, one air strip that is often cold-shouldered by UN security ratings...and the list goes on. This list is shared by MANY other South Sudan communities, I'm sure.
What gives the people hope is that they know a vote is coming in which they can express themselves and their feelings about North and South Sudan.
Meanwhile, local security continues to come from applying the stick, as it has for generations.
I wonder if the British "swagger stick" has anything to do with that?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comment. I'd love to respond in full re South Sudan but can't manage much more writing today. Not sure if I understood your last line or the tone. On thinking about it, it brought to mind something I'd posted here on Oct 25 2005 - excerpt:

Yesterday, a UK reader emailed me his comment saying:

"The Janjaweed are carrying out their orders with the same merry enthusiasm that Hitler's executioners killed Jews, Slavs, and Gypsies in millions! That's what humans do best, if they get half a chance. The orders they received were brutally logical, given the need at the centre to withstand rebel insurgency in the West of the country -- sparked largely by the fortuitous discovery of oil there."

And, he went on to say this:

1) The Sudan has indeed suffered, for many centuries, a bloody history of war and famine -- until the arrival of Scottish engineers and British Administrators (like me) from 1911 onwards, producing a short interval between the customary brutalities. Once the Sudanese gained independence, in 1955, they rapidly squandered the riches collected for them by those damned colonialists. Then the Dictator and former Army General Nimeiry (with whom I had several meetings) set up a religious government, based on Quranic law, deeply offending the Southerners, and here we are again.

2) It doesn't look as if things will change in future, either. Perhaps that will finally discourage people from living there.

3) Like Egypt, the Sudan is 'the gift of the Nile' and would collapse if anyone (for instance) sabotaged the Sennar dam, or blew up the White Nile barrage above Khartoum.

4) There are already plans to drain the Sadd marshes in the South, so that the wonderful Dinka become extinct, to the profit of the Northeners, whose threatened supply of water will be augmented throuogh a reduction in the rate of evaporation of the White Nile.

5) I say again: too many people in the wrong place.

I'm attaching an important new initiative by Lord May from Lord May, who predicts that much of Africa will become uninhabitable if the West continues to consume such a large share of the planet's resources. In the face of that threat, the starving masses will have to move elsewhere -- or perish. He dare not say that there are 'too many people in the wrong place' but that happens to be the cause of the problem -- including the greedy 280 millions in America.