4 March, 2009

I recently received a phone call from an Australian man who identified himself as an investigator for the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, Netherlands. The investigator and his colleague had read my story, ‘Merchant’s of Death: Exposing Corporate Financed Holocaust in Africa,’ and they wanted my cooperation to provide more detailed evidence about the warlords behind the massacres at Bogoro, Congo, described briefly in my story.

After some weeks of back and forth discussions and me revisiting notes and photos to see what I had, I sent them an email at the definitive moment, when they were hoping to receive a brief ‘dossier’ about the specific case—which they said ‘had generated a lot of interest’ at the ICC—and I shared my uncertainty about the ethics of collaborating with an ‘International Criminal Court’ that was only indicting black Africans. I indicated my concern for the witness ‘Sandrine’, a young girl discussed in my story who named names of commanders, dates of executions, and who herself used a machete in an ethnic massacre and was raped by militiamen. I noted that witnesses identified for the Rwandan Tribunal (ICTR) had been murdered or mysteriously disappeared, and noted my awareness of the injustice of the Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the disconcerting trajectory of the ICC.

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Sudan/Darfur is Test Case for Obama’s “Humanitarian” Aggression By Glen Ford

“Obama has not broken the American mold, but rather, appears to be fine-tuning a ‘humanitarian’ interventionist doctrine.”

Any government in the world that believes it has been targeted for regime change by the United States and its allies would be foolish to allow western-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to operate freely in its territory. When Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir evicted 13 western NGOs from his country last month, he was responding quite rationally to the clear threat of so-called “humanitarian” military intervention by the U.S. under the pretext of “rescuing” Sudanese in the war-torn Darfur region.

Under the Obama administration, a military interventionist doctrine is rapidly crystallizing around the concept of “Responsibility to Protect,” or R2P, which holds that nations have a responsibility to forcibly intervene when a state is judged to be unwilling or unable to protect or otherwise fulfill its responsibilities to its people – responsibilities that can be broadly or narrowly defined. United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and Samantha Power, a member of Obama’s National Security Council, are leading advocates of a broad and unilateralist interpretation of R2P. Both are very close to President Obama, and can be assumed to reflect his thinking on foreign policy. And both are implacably hostile to Omar Al-Bashir’s government in Sudan. Rice is eager to blockade Sudan’s ports and to launch “selective” bombing raids.

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Middle East Report Online: The Hazy Path Forward in Sudan by Sarah Washburne

24 March, 2009

[Sarah Washburne is a doctoral student at the University of Exeter. She contributed this article from Khartoum.]

For another view on the ICC decision, see Khalid Mustafa Medani, ‘Wanted: Omar al-Bashir — and Peace in Sudan,’ Middle East Report Online, March 5, 2009.

On the day after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the wanted man addressed a pre-planned rally of thousands in front of the presidential palace in Khartoum. Bashir was defiant, denouncing the warrant as ‘neo-colonialism,’ and praising his supporters in Martyrs’ Square as ‘grandsons of the mujahideen,’ a reference to the participants in the Mahdiyya uprising against Anglo-Egyptian rule in 1885. The atmosphere was almost one of jubilation; one might have mistaken the crowds for soccer fans celebrating a win. As Bashir condemned the ICC and the West from the microphone, the protesters waved the Sudanese flag and held aloft pictures of Bashir, as well as posters depicting the face of Luis Moreno Ocampo, the ICC prosecutor, superimposed upon the body of a pig. There were sporadic outbreaks of drumming, dancing and singing.

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