Law School Discussion

OBAMA makes an appontment....VIDEO: Africans react to Bashir warrant

! B L U E WAR R I O R..!

  • *****
  • 7267
  • "make a friend who was once a stranger" br.war.
    • View Profile
VIDEO: Africans react to Bashir warrant

Sun Mar 15, 2009

Mar 14 - Ordinary Africans speak to Reuters Africa Journal about the arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan Al Bashir by the International Criminal Court.

Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be the subject of an arrest warrant by the ICC.

Bashir is accused of orchestrating a campaign of violence in Sudan's western region, since 2003.

He has continually denied the allegations.

Residents in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria voice their opinions on the move to arrest the Sudanese leader.

! B L U E WAR R I O R..!

  • *****
  • 7267
  • "make a friend who was once a stranger" br.war.
    • View Profile
Re: VIDEO: Africans react to Bashir warrant
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2009, 02:48:04 PM »
Sudan: ICC's Arrest Warrant On Al-Bashir

19 March 2009


The recent issuance of a warrant for the arrest of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan by the International Criminal Court at The Hague, to face trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, is sure to send shivers down the spines of dictators across the world. According to ICC's spokeswoman Laurence Blairon, "He is suspected of being criminally responsible for intentionally directing attack against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians, and pillaging their property." Since some non-Arab (African) rebels took up arms in 2003 against the Arab-dominated regime, alleging abuse and discrimination against their tribe and demanding a greater share of resources and power, an estimated 300, 000 people, mainly civilians, have died and 2.7 million displaced in the Darfur region.

Opinions are divided as to the legality of the warrant on a sitting President given the position of the law on the sovereign immunity of a serving head of state. While the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom and other European Union (EU) countries support the warrant, China, the Arab League and the African Union (AU), see the indictment as an attempt to destabilise Sudan and heat up the already convoluted political atmosphere in Africa. Yet, the popular belief that sitting presidents are protected by certain clauses in their national constitutions and also shielded by some aspects of international law, became almost outdated in the international system especially in the mid-1990s after the end of the Cold War when there arose a global need to tame the reckless excesses of several intemperate dictators across the world.

As a girdle to the new global onslaught against human rights abuses and crimes against humanity, the global community has risen swiftly to implement some of the international laws and conventions governing such abuses. A signpost to the new ethos and communality in world affairs is the arrest of a few former dictators notable among whom were Augusto Pinochet, former Chilean dictator who was arrested in October 1998 in Great Britain, and Slobodan Milosevic, who eventually died in detention in 2006 while standing trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the defunct Yugoslavia at The Hague. In endorsing the universality of the human condition, we note that it is impossible to aspire to a world without systems or rules. Far from it. A chaotic world would pose equal or even greater danger.

The challenge is to strike a balance so that the management of global affairs is responsive to the interests of all people in a secure and sustainable future. Such management must be guided by basic human values and make global organisation conform to the reality of global diversity. The reported massacre and dehumanization of the Muslim black civilian population in Darfur, Western Sudan, by military forces of the Al-Bashir regime does not give the world any cause to cheer. Consequently, the binge of international outrage and condemnation that followed on the heels of this macabre tale vis-a-vis the current approval of the ICC's warrant of arrest on Al-Bashir by the international community, is understandable. Amidst protracted denials by the government in Khartoum, the gory details of the crisis in Sudan cannot but enliven the imagination of skeptics of Al-Bashir's government.

Given the fact that the crisis in Darfur had assumed the status of vehement bestiality under the watch of the Al-Bashir regime, the United Nations (UN) had no choice but to invoke the powers of Article 27 of the Rome Statute (Irrelevance of Official Capacity) to try to make sense out of a senseless situation. This action may have been brought about by the intransigence on the part of Khartoum which had refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC when the court, in May 2007, issued arrest warrants on the Sudanese Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmad Harun, and Ali Kushayb, a militia leader for their complicity in the crisis. Even as some lawyers have argued that President Al-Bashir's arrest can only be effected any time he leaves office, the onus rests on the United Nations Security Council whose Resolution 1593 (2005) mandated the ICC to handle the Darfur matter, and also asked all nations, either party to Article 87(7) of the Rome Statute or not, to cooperate fully with the ICC.

While we recognise the anxiety of the international community over the matter, we exhort that the warrant should not create a strong power which will sit to decide who should be prosecuted, just as we do not want the question of sovereign immunity of sitting heads of state to become a suit excuse for monsters to be protected. The law should not be made to serve as the cobwebs in which small flies are caught while the big ones pass freely with impunity. What is more, the African Union (AU) which is shielding all shades of dictators in Africa should not be exonerated from blame in the mass hysteria afflicting the continent. The failure of African leaders to call Al-Bashir to order made the situation in Darfur to degenerate to a state of anomie.

Above all, we condemn the indignant and sterile opposition of China to reason in matters of serious humanitarian concern. It is ignoble and self-serving for a nation of China's standing to want to oppose popular opinion just to have access to any nation's natural resources. Let reason prevail in Sudan.

! B L U E WAR R I O R..!

  • *****
  • 7267
  • "make a friend who was once a stranger" br.war.
    • View Profile
Re: OBAMA makes an appontment....VIDEO: Africans react to Bashir warrant
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2009, 02:50:15 PM »
Evangelicals Applaud Obama for Sudan Envoy Appointment

By Michelle A. Vu

Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Mar. 19 2009

Evangelical leaders and human rights groups applauded President Barack Obama Wednesday for naming an envoy for Sudan as the violence-wracked country faces a critical time in its history.

In a statement, President Obama announced that his campaign adviser and close friend, retired Air Force Gen. J. Scott Gration, will serve as the special envoy to Sudan. Gration had lived in Africa as a child when his parents served as missionaries there.

“I believe President Obama is taking the right action by appointing retired Air Force General Scott Gration as Special Envoy to Sudan,” said Rev. Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “This is a critical time in Sudan and it is important for the United States to do as much as possible to help the millions of people whose lives hang in the balance because of the ongoing crises there.

"My prayers go out to both the President and General Gration that God would grant them wisdom as they navigate the complexities of Africa's largest nation."

Graham, who recently returned from a trip to Sudan where he met with President Omar al-Bashir, had repeatedly called on President Obama to appoint an envoy to Sudan after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Sudanese president earlier this month. The arrest led to the government retaliating by expelling several large relief groups from the country.

Relief groups have expressed serious concern that millions of Sudanese lives are now at risk without the aid provided by these agencies.

Samaritan’s Purse, which operates several relief projects in Darfur and southern Sudan, was not ordered to leave and is still providing aid in Sudan.

The Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director and CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance, also welcomed President Obama’s new appointment at “a most critical time” for Sudan.

“With the expelling of international aid agencies by the Khartoum regime, millions of lives are at great risk,” wrote Tunnicliffe, who often speaks at Darfur rallies, to The Christian Post via email. “The international community must respond quickly and decisively to this crisis. It is imperative that the new U.S. envoy provide crucial diplomatic leadership at this time.”

The World Evangelical Alliance is a member of the Save Darfur Coalition.

Sudan is currently in a precarious situation with its sitting president, along with other high level government officials, being charged with crimes against humanity in Darfur. The ICC has issued several arrest warrants for Sudanese government officials, but Sudan has refused to turn them over to the court.

Instead, just days after the arrest warrant was issued Sudan announced that some of the largest international aid groups, most of them operating in Darfur, must leave the country. The government accused the foreign aid groups of spying and providing the ICC with false information against President al-Bashir and his government.

Then on Tuesday, al-Bashir made what appears to be an unplanned announcement that all foreign aid groups must leave Sudan within a year. Sudanese government officials later in the day tried to downplay al-Bashir’s statement, saying that not necessarily all foreign aid would have to leave and U.N. agencies would not be affected.

The Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of more than 180 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations, expressed hope that Gration’s experience and close relationship with President Obama “will contribute greatly to his effectiveness.”

“Equally important, he must have the mandate and authority to drive U.S. policy on Sudan,” said Jerry Fowler, president of the Save Darfur Coalition, in a statement.

It is estimated that about 1.1 million civilians will be without food aid, 1.5 million without health care, and over a million without potable water after the 13 international aid agencies leave Sudan due to government order.

“General Gration will need to hit the ground running and spearhead an urgent and sustained diplomatic push - involving China and key African and Arab countries - to establish unimpeded humanitarian access, hold President Bashir accountable for meeting Sudan's obligation under international law to protect the lives of Sudanese civilians and move toward lasting peace,” Fowler said. “Presidential engagement and U.S. leadership are more vital than ever."