Saturday, November 25, 2006

 

The International Criminal Court gets tough on Darfur

Here’s a fascinating tid-bit in today’s Washington Post: World Court Official Reports Evidence on Darfur Criminals

Here “World Court” refers to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and it’s looking grim for those bad guys in Darfur:

“The International Criminal Court has found sufficient evidence to identify the perpetrators of some of the worst atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region, and the probe offers "reasonable grounds to believe" that crimes against humanity were committed, chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the annual meeting of the court's member states in The Hague.”

Just a few niceties to get out of the way then, I guess, the perpetrators will be brought to justice:

“The prosecutor must determine whether the Sudan government is carrying out an inquiry into the same incidents and individuals. If there are not "genuine national proceedings," he said, he will present his evidence to the judges.

"We are almost ready," he said.”

Seriously, he said that. He will now be determining whether the Sudan government is going to do anything about all this. Apparently, these educated international legal types are the only people with any kind of tangential interest in this matter to not know the answer: Hell no, they’re not going to do anything about any of this.

The problem here is that all this pontificating by the ICC obscures a rather significant fact. Here, respected Washington Post Foreign Service writer Nora Boustany explains:

“ “

Actually, she doesn’t say a thing about what I consider a rather significant hurdle to the ICC doing anything about this. But first a primer; here is a relevant passage about what the ICC can do:

The International Criminal Court was established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, so called because it was adopted in Rome, Italy on 17 July 1998 by the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court. The Rome Statute is an international treaty, binding only on those States which formally express their consent to be bound by its provisions. … Today, 103 States have become Parties to the Statute. “

I’ve scoured the list – the name Sudan does not appear. True, this matter was referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council (the US is not a signatory to the ICC – thank God – so abstained on that vote) and the ICC claims jurisdiction in such instances but…who here can picture a scenario where the ICC/UN unilaterally goes into Sudan for the purpose of initiating an ICC prosecution. It’s too ludicrous to even think about.

It is apparent to me that this whole ICC investigation is just a colossal waste of time and money undertaken so that international tsk-tsk’ers can prance about The Hague pretending to be doing very important work. It is the appearance of caring without doing anything of substance (including not even going to Darfur during the nearly year-and-a-half investigation). Worse, it acts as deterrence to strong action by international players. Poor Darfurians are no doubt waiting for the wheels of justice in this matter to reach what seems to most a painfully obvious resolution...but they’ll be waiting awhile: this thing isn’t moving anywhere.

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