UPDATES

Media silent as African Union helps Sudanese president to flaunt genocide indictment

Feb 20, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Media silent as African Union helps Sudanese president to flaunt genocide indictment
news_item/darfur-genocide.jpg

In a story that has been largely ignored by the Western press, the African Union (AU) is flexing every international legal muscle it can find in order to protect Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir from his indictment on charges of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Bashir has recently travelled to ICC signatories Chad, Kenya, Djibouti and Malawi without being arrested, despite being wanted for genocide.

As Dapo Akande has written for the European Journal of International Law, at its recent biennial summit, the AU reaffirmed its commitment to protecting Bashir and is also exploring the possibility of applying for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as to whether its states are obligated to arrest foreign leaders with diplomatic immunity — a ploy that is not-so-subtly aimed at protecting Bashir.

As has been the pattern over the past three or four years, the AU Assembly has, at its biannual meetings, adopted a number of decisions regarding cases at the  International Criminal Court. In the latest meeting,  the AU Assembly reiterated its request that the UN Security Council defer the proceedings against Sudanese President Bashir in accordance with Article 16 of the Rome Statute. It also ” urge[d] all [AU] Member States to comply with [AU] Assembly Decisions on the warrants of arrest issued by the ICC against President Bashir of the Sudan pursuant to Article 23(2) of the [AU] Constitutive Act and Article 98 of the Rome Statute of the ICC.” Those prior decisions had called on African States not to comply with the request by the ICC for the arrest and surrender of Bashir.

Other action is being taken by AU member states. For instance, Kenyan newspaperThe Star has reported that the government in Kenya is attempting to overturn a ruling by Justice Nicholas Ombija, directing the Kenyan attorney-general to arrest Bashir on the ICC charges should he enter Kenya.

Meanwhile, New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof gave a harrowing reminder on Sunday of why it is so important that the charges against Bashir are enforced. Kristof is now reporting from the border of Sudan and South Sudan on the continuing crimes against humanity being perpetrated by Bashir’s regime. There is little wonder that these crimes continue, given that the international community continues to signal that they are not serious about ostensible efforts to hold purpetrators accountable for the untold suffering and loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.

Bombings, ground attacks and sexual violence – part of Sudan’s scorched-earth counterinsurgency strategy – have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in South Kordofan, the Sudanese state where the Nuba Mountains are located. In some ways, the brutality here feels like an echo of what Sudan did in Darfur, only now it is Nubans who are targets.

“They said that they want to finish off the black people; they said they want to kill them all,” recalled Elizabeth Kafi, a 22-year-old Nuban who said she was kidnapped in December by Sudanese uniformed soldiers. She and others say that the mostly Arab Sudanese soldiers scorn Nubans partly for their darker skin, partly because some are Christian, but mostly because many Nubans back an armed uprising against decades of Sudanese misrule. In 23 days of captivity, she said she saw the soldiers use guns to execute several Nuban men, including her grandfather and brother-in-law. She described watching soldiers gang rape and then cut the throat of a young Nuban woman, and also stab to death the woman’s 3-year-old son.

The refugees who flee Sudan face similar inhumane treatment as they are hunted in Egypt until many arrive to a safe haven in Israel, where they have little but at least are not being gunned-down by the local forces. There they are forced to sleep on the streets of Tel Aviv and work illegally, not receiving a cent from the international community and barred from the Palestinian-only refugee camps that lie a 30 minute drive to the South. Former Sudanese slave Simon Deng has been very vocal on the international community’s continued failure to acknowledge the crimes being committed by Bashir on his people as they only ever seemed concerned with condemnation of Israel. Sadly, his message seems to have been lost to worldwide indifference. Surely it is about time that people of goodwill everywhere start paying attention.

Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Tags:

RELATED ARTICLES


Palestinian Red Crescent workers from Al-Najjar Hospital in the city of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, on January 10, 2024 (Image: Shutterstock)

Hamas’ impossible casualty figures

Mar 28, 2024 | Update
455daec3 C2a8 8752 C215 B7bd062c6bbc

After the Israel-Hamas ceasefire for hostages deal

Nov 29, 2023 | Update
Screenshot of Hamas bodycam footage as terrorists approach an Israeli vehicle during the terror organisation's October 7, 2023 attack in southern Israel, released by the IDF and GPO (Screenshot)

Horror on Video / International Law and the Hamas War

Oct 31, 2023 | Update
Sderot, Israel. 7th Oct, 2023. Bodies of dead Israelis lie on the ground following the attacks of Hamas (Image: Ilia Yefimovich/dpa/Alamy Live News)

Israel’s Sept. 11, only worse

Oct 11, 2023 | Update
Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu (r) gets his long-awaited face-to-face meeting with US President Joe Biden in New York (Photo: Avi Ohayon, Israeli Government Press Office)

Netanyahu meets Biden, other world leaders, in New York

Sep 27, 2023 | Update
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who gave an address on Aug. 28 threatening the US and laying out the Iranian-led axis's new "unity of the arenas" doctrine. (Photo: Shutterstock, mohammad kassir)

US-Iran prisoner swap deal set to go through

Sep 12, 2023 | Update

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

File

AIJAC welcomes Ansar Allah terrorism listing

Karim A. A. Khan KC, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Why ICC’s ingrained bias ensures no fair ‘trials’ for Israel

Malaysian PM Anwar with the late Iranian President Raisi in Kuala Lumpur, November 2023 (Image: Facebook/Anwar Ibrahim)

Malaysia’s role in supporting Iran’s terrorism

Image: Facebook

Australia’s failing campus report card

Screenshot 2024 01 27 At 3.16.11 pm

Claiming the International Court of Justice found accusations of genocide against Israel were “plausible” is just false

File

AIJAC welcomes Ansar Allah terrorism listing

Karim A. A. Khan KC, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Why ICC’s ingrained bias ensures no fair ‘trials’ for Israel

Malaysian PM Anwar with the late Iranian President Raisi in Kuala Lumpur, November 2023 (Image: Facebook/Anwar Ibrahim)

Malaysia’s role in supporting Iran’s terrorism

Image: Facebook

Australia’s failing campus report card

Screenshot 2024 01 27 At 3.16.11 pm

Claiming the International Court of Justice found accusations of genocide against Israel were “plausible” is just false

SORT BY TOPICS