Monday, February 09, 2009

ICC Prosecutor’s keynote address at Yale's conference: “The Pursuit of International Criminal Justice: The Case of Darfur”

Sometime this month, maybe any day between the next few days and 20th Feb, the ICC judges are expected to announce their ruling on Sudan president. I hope the judges rule that there is not enough evidence for the case to hold up in court. Going by the archives of Sudan, I believe Darfur to be counter-insurgency not genocide. If the judges issue an arrest warrant I will feel an injustice will have been done. I think that most of what went on was out of Mr Bashir's control and that he didn't know half of what was going on inside Sudan's forces. I've tracked his movements closely over five years and it's amazing to see what goes on behind his back whenever he is out of the country.

In a Sudan Tribune article today (copied here below in a previous post) ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, in his keynote address on Friday at Yale's conference entitled “The Pursuit of International Criminal Justice: The Case of Darfur” is quoted as saying:

“This is not about regime change, it is about the criminal responsibility of individuals. It is about stopping the crimes."

Well if that is the case, and the statement is true and the ICC judges issue an arrest warrant for Sudan's president, then one would expect arrest warrants to be issued simultaneously against the Darfur rebel leaders, first and foremost JEM.

Note that in the following article from Yale, re its conference on Darfur, Michael O’Neill, the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for Sudan, is quoted as saying that al-Bashir’s indictment could destroy Sudanese unity and derail the peace process in Darfur. I agree and cannot understand why Mr Ocampo does not see this whilst feeling free to act like a political activist from the savedarfurcrowd. All I can think is maybe he is so clever, he knows his case won't hold up on court and is squeezing as much mileage out of his case to help the warring factions in Sudan to focus and come to the peace talks table. I hope so. After all, there are 51 names of suspected Darfur war criminals in a sealed envelope at the ICC, Mr Bashir is only one name.
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Photo: Luis Moreno-Ocampo, International Criminal Court prosecutor, delivers the keynote address at a conference at the Yale Law School Feb. 6, 2009. (Philip Hu/Staff Photographer)

From Yale Daily News
Darfur conference divides
Anna Sophie Creager Contributing Reporter
Published Monday, February 9, 2009
The chief attorney of the International Criminal Court on Friday called for the indictment of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir at a Yale Law School conference on Darfur, sparking heated debate within panels stocked with international law heavyweights.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s keynote address at the all-day conference titled “The Pursuit of International Criminal Justice: The Case of Darfur” was followed by panel discussions on peace, justice and progress moderated by Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh. Over 300 policymakers, students and other guests — including an estimated 60 Darfuris — attended the conference, which conference organizers hoped would bridge the gap between the judicial and peacemaking processes in Darfur.

“The timing could not be better,” Moreno-Ocampo said of the conference. “The time to do something in Darfur is now.”

International officials involved in the Darfur peace process have skirmished over what role — if any — international criminal prosecution should play in curbing Darfur violence since Moreno-Ocampo charged al-Bashir with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in July 2008.

Moreno-Ocampo, elected in April 2003 to a nine-year term as ICC prosecutor, focused his address on the question of whether al-Bashir’s indictment would expedite the peace-making process in Darfur. Moren0-Ocampo argued that an ICC indictment would clearly show all parties in Darfur the repercussions of violating the law.

“Peace and justice have to work hand in hand,” he said. “Mr. Al-Bashir will face justice.”

Akec Achiew Khoc, the Sudanese Ambassador to the U.S., disagreed with Moreno-Ocampo’s assertion that al-Bashir’s indictment would lead to peace. Addressing the conference as a guest after the first panel discussion, Khoc argued the move would exacerbate conflict.

Michael O’Neill, the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for Sudan, agreed. He said al-Bashir’s indictment could destroy Sudanese unity and derail the peace process in Darfur.

Audience members were split over whether to indict al-Bashir. Darfuri refugee Abdelbagy Abushanab, a founding member of the Darfur Rehabilitation Project, said the prospect of al-Bashir’s indictment lends hope for justice to millions of Darfuris.

“Without justice, there can be no peace,” Abushanab said in response to Khoc. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

Panels following Moreno-Ocampo’s Friday keynote featured Jean-Marie Guéhenno, former Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations; Jerry Fowler, President of the Save Darfur Coalition; John Bellinger, former Legal Adviser for the U.S. Department of State; and Richard Dicker, the director of International Justice Program of Human Rights Watch.

The roster of panelists for the conference did not include any refugees from Darfur, noted Adeeb Yousif, a human rights advocate for Sudan Social Development Organization.

“It is very important to include a Darfuri on the panel,” he said. “Because they have important information about the problems that exist and the solutions that could be possible.”

The audience also included a handful of Yale students, including 26 members of Students Taking Action Now: Darfur.
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Related reports

Sudan Watch Monday, February 09, 2009:
UK's Special Representative for Sudan, Michael O'Neill, says Bashir's indictment could destroy Sudanese unity and derail peace process in Darfur

Sudan Watch Sunday, February 08, 2009:
ICC prosecutor tells audience at Yale University decision on Sudan president arrest warrant to be made ‘in a few days’?

Sudan Watch Sunday, February 08, 2009:
2009 could be a make or break year for the CPA and for the prospect of peace in Sudan says UN envoy Qa

Sudan Watch Saturday, February 07, 2009:
Sudan Tribune's shameless political activism masquerading as hard news to whip up a storm when peoples lives are at stake ought to be challenged

Congo Watch Sunday, February 08, 2009:
ICC trial of Lubanga off to an ‘inauspicious’ start

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