Sunday, April 12, 2009

Arguing against the ICC - Alex de Waal reviews and debates Mahmood Mamdani’s new book on Darfur Sudan

Over the next few weeks Alex de Waal will be hosting a debate at his blog, Making Sense of Darfur, on Mahmood Mamdani’s new book Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror.

Here is an excerpt from Alex de Waal's review of the book.

New book on Darfur

From Making Sense of Darfur 12 April 2009:
Mamdani concludes:

“For Africa, a lot is at stake in Darfur. Foremost are two objectives, starting with the unity of Africa: The Save Darfur lobby in the United States has turned the tragedy of the people of Darfur into a knife with which to slice Africa by demonizing one group of Africans, African Arabs… At stake also is the independence of Africa. The Save Darfur lobby demands, above all else, justice, the right of the international community—really the big powers in the Security Council—to punish ‘failed’ or ‘rogue’ states, even if it be at the cost of more bloodshed and a diminished possibility of reconciliation. More than anything else, ‘the responsibility to protect’ is a right to punish but without being held accountable—a clarion call for the recolonization of ‘failed’ states in Africa. In its present form, the call for justice is really a slogan that masks a big power agenda to recolonize Africa.”

Is Mahmood Mamdani right? He is certainly correct that ‘For Africa, a lot is at stake in Darfur.’ The arguments whereby he reaches this conclusion—and the other conclusions in his bold book—are certain to be controversial. Over the next few weeks we shall be hosting a debate on Saviors and Survivors.
Mahmood Mamdani

Photo of Mahmood Mamdani from Sudan Watch - April 06, 2009:
New book by Mahmood Mamdani: 'Save Darfur' movement is not a peace movement
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From Foreign Policy Association blog
Arguing Against the ICC
April 11, 2009 by Nikolaj Nielsen
When in July 14, 2008 prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo charged Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, few people would have argued against.

Only a month before, Moreno-Ocampo stood in front of the United Nations Security Council and said Khartoum had slaughtered some 300,000 people. The evidence is there buried and burned with all the bodies and villages.

But then last month, Khartoum expelled NGOs hours after a warrant for al-Bashir’s arrest was issued. Oxfam said the decision would have a devastating impact on hundreds of thousands of people. Alone, Oxfam provides clean water and sanitation for 400,000.

13 international aid agencies, along with their assets, are no longer operational in Sudan. 108 countries who ratified the Rome Treaty are now obliged to bring al-Bashir to justice. Note - the United States has not ratified the ICC treaty.

Al-Bashir’s indictment by the ICC has a generated a lot of controversy. Not least because it sets a precedent and a message that world leaders are not immune (unless you belong to the club of rich nations), but also because there are fears that Khartoum will only increase the devastation against its own people.

Against this backdrop, numerous people are arguing against the ICC. No well informed individual is disputing that the people of Sudan have suffered and continue to suffer under al-Bashir.

But like so many conflicts that involves a mesh of history, culture, geo-politics, climate, economics, politics…well, just about everything…it’s important to get a perspective that falls outside the typical Hollywood activism and media frame. Let’s take a look at a couple.

1. Alex de Waal is a fellow at the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University and has written numerous books and articles on Sudan. De Waal argues that the ICC decision will further destabilize Sudan at the expense of its people. In his article at openDemocracy, de Waal quotes a Sudanese civil-society activist. “All of us want justice but justice cannot be achieved in a social vacuum. We should choose the time for justice. Today it is the lives of people that count.”

2. Mahmood Mamdani is the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government Columbia University. Mamdani argues in his
article at the UK Mail & Gaurdian that the prosecution’s case charging al-Bashir ignores and/or is ignorant of the roots of the conflict. The ICC, says Mamdani, has politicized justice and that the greater concern for Africa is the contentious relationship between law and politics.

3. Julie Flint is co-author with Alex de Waal of Darfur: A New History of a Long War. She argues that in her article at the Guardian that the ICC indictment will spread the suffering of numerous people who depend on the aid of international organizations. She says that while the pursuit of justice is noble in deed, there are certain realities that escape this Utopian ideal. She believes justice is a condition of peace. Without peace, there is no justice.

For more on this debate, check out the Social Science Research Council’s ‘Making Sense of Darfurhere.
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From Sudan Vision Daily
Legal Affairs Presidential Advisor: the ICC Decision is at Deadlock
April 13, 2009 by Neimat al-Naiem
Khartoum – Presidential Advisor for Legal Affairs, Judge of the Supreme Court, Farida Ibrahim, described the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the President of the Republic, Omar Al-Bashir reached deadlock, adding waiving the immunity from any individual holding a constitutional post is mainly dependent on a decision issued by the President of the Republic. She indicated Al-Bashir's reiteration of his rejection of handing over any Sudanese national to the International Criminal Court.

Regarding the call on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to defer the court's decision, Judge Farida said any such deferral or suspension of investigation are contingent on Article 16 of the Court's Statute, whose activation depends on a request by the UNSC in accordance with Chapter 7.

The Presidential Advisor explained the conditions required for suspending the decisions. According to her, the conditions include that the state should be a member of the ICC, the matter which is contrary to the case of Sudan. "If Sudan requests the deferral of the decision, it could be construed as recognizing cooperation with the Court." She added, "such a move is deemed inconsistent with Sudan's position on the Court's decision at the first place."

In an interview with Akhbar Alyoum Arabic daily yesterday, Judge Farida stated that cooperation with the Court is more serious than joining it, pointing out that calls on Sudan to cooperate with said Courts are aimed at achieving hidden agenda by powerful western nations such France and the United Kingdom, which solely seek to destabilize Sudan.
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I have been to Sudan: What Darfur Genocide?!

Thanks to the anonymous person who posted a comment here at Sudan Watch today with a link to the following video report apparently filmed at the newly inaugurated Merowe Dam in Sudan on April 9, 2009.

Caption published alongside above film clip posted to YouTube April 12, 2009:
The LaRouche Movement in Sudan and Darfur exposes the lies spread by the British Empire about genocide in Darfur, and shows the development potential in the country and Africa.

Hussein Askary, chairman of the LaRouche movement in Sweden, and a delegation of representatives from the LaRouche movement in the U.S. participated in a tour and a conference in Sudan about the truth behind what the International Criminal Court (ICC) claims to be a "genocide" in Darfur, allegedly perpetrated by the President of Sudan, General Omar Al-Bashir.

The delegates traveled to the refugee camps in Al-Fashir in North Darfur, spoke to many people, and got lots of information on how the situation really is.

Later, they visited the massive development project around the Merowe Dam in the north of Sudan. This is not only a dam project, but a massive development project, unparalleled in the whole of Africa. The best comparison is Franklin Roosevelt's great American development projects around the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), building dams, bridges, highways, new towns and cities, airports, railways, new healthcare and educational centers, etc.

The living standard in the capital Khartoum and the north of Sudan has risen quickly in the last few years, despite civil war, sanctions and provocations from Europe and the U.S. But the people of Sudan and the governent are very open to a dialog with the United States in particular, but also United Kingdom, which is behind this campaign of lies, together with her "Fashoda tail" France. This kind of dialog is needed to solve the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, and start a peace process with the different factions among the rebels in Darfur, who are supported by Britain and Europe.

We are going to publish written and video documentation of our findings in Sudan, and on how the world can contribute to peace and economic development while paying full respect to the national sovereignty of Sudan.


English -

Arabic -

Swedish -

German -

French -


The Future of Africa

Greening the Deserts Starts with Sudan

The U.S. Can Not Tolerate Bashir Indictment by the ICC

Webcast Excerpt -- On Sudan and NGO's

The Coming Role of Youth

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LaRouche movement representative Hussein Askary made the following statement on the British lies about "genocide in Darfur." He was standing in front of the Merowe Dam, which is in fact typical of what these neo-colonialists are attacking.

I have been to Sudan: What Darfur genocide?!