There was possibly no way to cap my euphoria, even with the weight and might of a zillion troops; it still would have been an impossible herculean task for anyone. On July 14, 2008, the Prosecutor at The International Criminal Court (ICC) after a lengthy investigation that started three years earlier, decisively whacked Omar Hassan Al Bashir across the head with ten charges of war crimes, three of genocide, five of crimes against humanity, and two of murder: Its’ very first against a sitting head-of-state since its commission in 2002. Just a little over a year before this, Ahmad Haruna (newly promoted Sudanese Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs), and Ali Kushayb (a militia Janjaweed leader) were ordered arrested by the Judges at the Hague for 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. So news of probable issuance of an arrest warrant for Mr. Al Bashir was an exhilarating high: justice will now flow unfettered like a cooling brook in spite of Mr. Al Bashir’s doggedness not to recognize the mandate of the Court—this was to be the beginning that child In Darfur has long waited for . . . at least so I thought.
Omar Hassan Al Bashir unleashed the kingdom of Hell on earth on civilian Sudanese citizens living in the western region of the Sudan called Darfur dating back to the year 2003. After years of what for the sake of modest argument is best termed “evident signs of incongruent coexistence and ultra-frigid embrace from the ethnic Arab government in Khartoum,” ethnic black African tribes who live in Darfur coalesced in 2003 and mounted an armed militant resistance against Khartoum. What followed can only be best described by Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, Prosecutor at the ICC: “Al Bashir decided and set out to destroy in part the target groups on account of their ethnicity. He publicly instructed the army to quell the rebellion and NOT TO BRING BACK ANY PRISONERS OR WOUNDED.”
So here we stand a little over two months following the prosecutor’s request—with orders for the arrest of Mr. Al Bashir coming down the pipes at any moment—certain leaders are not only clamoring for the postponement of any indictment against Mr. Al Bashir, but total absolution for him. This devoir been accorded Mr. Al Bashir has to be nothing short of arrant stupidity and an unforgivable act of self-interest! African leaders, Arab leaders, Security Council members Russia and China, and even to some extent certain European leaders all partake in this gross emesis. The core of their arguments is echoed by disgraced former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, in saying prosecution of Mr. Al Bashir “could seriously undermine ongoing efforts aimed at facilitating the early resolution of the conflict in Darfur.” “. . . It could not make any positive contribution in that regard,” he said, “and therefore we are against it.”
Those who fail to learn from the past are damned to repeat it. We have been at this familiar junction in time before. It was this same circus of like-minded leaders who stood on the sidelines while Adolf Hitler, the notorious Nazi leader, invoked his sovereign right to attack his own people, resulting in the death of six million Jews before the world could put an end to his malady. We saw this again when Saddam Hussein mercilessly used chemical agents to gas ethnic Kurds in northern Iraq with the intent of obliterating them from the face of the earth. And even if all these seem nonsensical, the recent arrest of former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic after nearly 13 years on the run, who instructed his army “By planned and well-thought out combat operations, create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica,” should tell these “leaders” under no circumstances can a fox be trusted to exercise judgment which isn’t instinctual when left to own devices in the hen house.
I fail to see such a condition, regardless of how hard I try, where life becomes bearable for that mother who just watched an armed band of twenty men forcefully penetrate her five year-old daughter knowing she very well is next. And all the while, Mr. Al Bashir enjoys the protection of his “leaders,” and rolls daily from end to end with impunity, in his comfy expensive satin sheets. I wonder what that elderly woman who has just lost both sons would say to the arrest of Mr. Al Bashir, whether she thinks it would do irreparable damage to the negotiations for the survival of her people. By passing UNSCR 1593 in 2005, which authorized the investigation of possible atrocities in Darfur, the UN Security Council has fulfilled its foremost obligation and must be lauded. It must now follow through fully and unequivocally, by urging the arrest of Mr. Al Bashir by the Court, so he could stand and answer to his alleged crimes. The over 300,000 Darfuris who have lost their lives didn’t give it up volitionally, and neither should we expect Mr. Al Bashir to freely surrender the freedom he denied these innocent lives. We are assured by virtue of the examples I cited earlier, injustice anywhere is indeed a threat to justice everywhere. Our fate as a species is forever bound together. The time to act is now, justice delayed a second longer than already necessary is justice denied for these lives that lay wasted every day all over the besieged towns and villages of Darfur