Sudan: Send In The Lawyers, Nothing Else Works


July 24, 2008: The possibility of an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant has certainly raised Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir's profile. At the moment Bashir is "touring" Darfur and thumbing his nose at the United Nations. Issuing the warrant may make reaching a peace settlement more difficult. The ICC's decision to indict Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony is an example. Kony faced trial on murder and rape charges. Why make a peace when peace means jail? That said, Bashir is also a marked man. He can travel to Eritrea (which hates the UN) and North Korea - assuming he doesn't land in a country that would stop his plane and arrest him. That is unlikely. Still, if the warrant is actually issued, he could get arrested. Bashir is wise to restrict his tourist ventures to Sudan.

July 23, 2008: It looks like the Abyei situation has become a crisis once again. Government forces attacked a village in the region. The government denied the reports.

July 21, 2008: African Union (AU) members have asked the UN Security Council to intervene with the ICC and not formally issue an arrest warrant for Sudan's president Bashir. The AU requested the UN Security Council "defer for 12 months" the ICC prosecutor's action against Bashir. As it is, ICC judges actually issue the warrant. It could (conveniently) take months for the ICC judges to make a decision on the prosecutor's request.

July 20, 2008: Darfur's Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) is once again proving to be a politically savvy outfit. The JEM is now leveraging the potential ICC indictment of Sudan president Omar al-Bashir. Since the indictment has "eroded" Bashir's legitimacy the JEM wants to establish a "Transitional Government of National Unity (acronym is TGONU). Presumably the TGONU would include the JEM.

July 18, 2008: China accused Great Britain's BBC of "bias." On July 14 the BBC accused China of violating a UN arms embargo. The BBC alleged China had sold arms to Sudan and provided "trucks for military use." China has sold trucks to Sudan but China insists the trucks were for "civilian uses." Thing is, all it takes is a heavy machine gun or a light machine gun and a truck becomes a military machine��and a very useful one in the Sahel region.

July 15, 2008: Following an ICC prosecutor's request for an arrest warrant for Sudan's president. The UN began moving 2500 "non-essential staff members" from Sudan to Uganda. 200 UN workers flew to Uganda on July 14. The reason? Increased security concerns. Bashir could take the request for a warrant very personally.

July 14, 2008: The International Criminal Court's (ICC) senior prosecutor charged Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir with genocide and crimes against humanity.


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