Arabs and Darfur Disaster: "Criminal" Ocampo, "Heroic" Al Bashir
|Sunday, July 20,2008 06:47|
|By Amr Hamzawi|
*Translated into English by Ikhwanweb
As usual, the demand of the International Criminal Court"s Luis Moreno-Ocampo of an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir on charges of committing a genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur was met with the expected Arab rejection. With a mixture of messages of threats and steadfastness in front of the new western attack, Sudanese officials condemned Ocampo"s "fabricated" claims and his " criminal" ill intentions and his "collaboration with the United States " threatening with stopping working with the United Nations-to which the International Criminal Court is affiliated- over the issue of Darfur.
Some officials Arab countries and the Cairo-based Arab League secretariat staff quickly showed their solidarity, ranting near and distant past actions about the West"s secret agendas and endless schemes to fragment the Nation, its persecution to Arabs and its humiliation to Arab presidents and the that solidarity is a must-do to end this imminent danger.
As usual also, writers and observers watching for the double standard policy of the West and who are always driven by obsessions of Arab rights and national sovereignty sought to give a false hue of rationality and humanity on the Sudanese official rejection with long explanations aiming to discredit the Western double-standard policy in the human rights violations field and the continuous politicization of the international justice, seeing the arrest warrant against Al Bashir as a clear proof on the defected practice of justice from the Strong against the Weak.
As for the proof, they referred to atrocities committed by the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories and the US systematic human rights violations in Iraq , Afghanistan and Guantanamo with a stress that the Israeli and US officials will never be held accountable for their crimes.
It is natural that this storm of the Arab rejection to Ocampo"s warrant is accompanied by a nearly full ignorance to the humanitarian, political and legal repercussions of the Darfur disaster and president Al Bashir regime"s responsibility for it. According to the minimum international (government and non government) estimations Darfur residents of the tribes of AL Zaghwa, Al Masalit, AL Fur, faced between 2002 and 2007:
1- No less than 30000 of them were killed in attacks of the Sudanese army troops and allied Janjaweed militias.
2- Displacing more than two million persons who became refugees inside Darfur or in neighboring Chad .
3- Systematic human rights violations in Darfur refugee camps committed by the government supported militias, leading to 200000 deaths and a bigger number of women and girls falling victims to rape crimes and sexual assaults.
4-A sharp deterioration in living conditions that led to a rise in mortality rates and malnutrition specially among children to reach nowadays 20% and 41% respectively according to UNICEF figures.
Al Bashir"s regime was directly in this as part of its conflict with armed rebel. It procrastinated for a long time with the United Nations and the international public opinion before it finally accepted UN-AU forces to be deployed in Darfur and adhered to giving facilities to offering humanitarian aid to citizens and starting a negotiation process with rebels.
We are actually witnessing genocides and crimes against humanity for which the Sudanese regime- topped by Al Bashir- is legally and politically blamed. This regime can"t be sued inside Sudan due to the current conditions. This is the core of Darfur disaster according to the international perspective which the Arabs too must realize. As for other rants over the Western interests roles and the rebel movements human rights violations and the complicated tribal background of the conflict in Darfur , they can be seen as an accidental issue with a limited importance that does not justify what was committed in the past years and it does not give a key solution.
Washington and other western capitals have never created the Darfur disaster out of nothing, the same as they did not fabricate in the past years the mass graves Iraq , Saddam"s criminality and violence of his regime against Shiites and Kurds. It is shameful for some Sudanese officials to talk about the criminality of the International Criminal Court prosecutor Ocampo who has a high professionalism and a distinguished experience in hunting top human rights violators in and outside Latin America, while they give a deaf ear to the responsibility of the real criminals of Darfur who are among them. Autocratic Arab regimes always use their discourse about outside conspiracies and western secret agendas to blame the other (from Ocampo to Bush) for the responsibility of their disasters and seeing this other as a criminal, stoping short of practicing self-criticism .
Has he asked himself- I use "he" intentionally because all concerned are men and use a male language – and I mean those who declared their rejection to politicization of the international justice and the West"s double standard policy, have they asked themselves about the ensuing harm of suing human rights violators in Al Bashir"s regime in the presence of the continuous negligence of violations of the Israelis and Americans and others who still can"t be sued in the international justice court. I there is any harm, have they pondered over who are the potential victims and distinguished in this regard between rulers and ruled?
Have those bringing out the unofficial rejection discourse pondered over fates of those whose rights were violated, who were raped and who were displaced and what the double standard of justice means- hey are right in the ideas emerging in their minds. Have they taken some time and exerted some effort to seek alternative means to exercise pressure on Al Bashir"s regime to change its practices in Darfur , other than the international criminal court and threats of imposing UN sanctions. Have their search led to any thing or that the fate of Darfur residents does not concern them?
It is no defect in the international justice to sue Darfur criminals nowadays while its top body- the International Criminal Court- stops short of hearing many files about the violations of Israel and the United States . It is undoubtedly true that it directly reflects a chaos in the distribution power on the international level and a clear evidence on the realistic limits in applying justice in the world. However, this doesn"t mean that we face a defected exercise of the law of jungle as long as there is evidence and that litigation procedures are guaranteed.
As for the concerns voiced by a few Arab writers- that the judicial warrants may make Al Bashir"s regime to backpedal on its latest pledges over Darfur and commit violent reactions that may add fuel to fire to the already disastrous situations there- and hence they ask the International Criminal Court to reject Ocampo"s warrant, they mix without any basis of value between the necessities of justice and political considerations with the latter analysis harming both of them.
It is credulous to expect that the repressive regimes- mostly not held accountable on the domestic level- stop their criminal practices in the absence of international deterrent pressures on judicial, political or economic levels. Thus, it isn"t to the interest of the peoples- including most Arab peoples- who suffer from the repression of autocratic regimes to see a gradual formation of an international organization that can judicially hold accountable the rulers for the human rights violations. Isn"t this potential deterrence enough for those continuously observing the West"s double standard policy to objectively see the-though currently limited- principles upon which the International Criminal Court is founded?
I am not shocked by the Arab official rejection to Ocampo"s memo, whether this rejection comes from Khartoum , Cairo or Damascus , I even expected this. However, what shocks me as an Arab concerned with human rights is the unofficial rejection discourse and the writers and columnists" talk about the incomplete justice while they turn a deaf ear to genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.