Home | News    Thursday 11 December 2008

Sudan’s Bashir cannot escape accountability: Bush

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December 10, 2008 (WASHINGTON) – The US President George Bush expressed frustration at the rate of deployment of peacekeepers in Darfur and concluded by stating that Sudan’s ruler will be held responsible for the conflict in the region.

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US President George W. Bush holds a copy of the book ’Tears of The Desert’ written by Darfur human rights activist Dr. Halima Bashir at the conclusion of a meeting in the Oval Office of The White House in Washington, DC, on December 10, 2008 (AFP)

Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC prosecutor on ten counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The U.S. has threatened to block efforts in the UN Security Council to suspend the case against Bashir.

Bush said, “it’s very important for President Bashir of Sudan to know that he cannot escape accountability; that if he so choose, he could change people’s lives, the condition of people’s lives very quickly.”

The statement resembles previous positions taken by U.S. officials that coupled the ICC issue with demands that Sudanese authorities work to improve security and humanitarian aid in Darfur, the westernmost region of Sudan.

But it also represents a much more forceful position on the ICC case than previously articulated by the president. When asked about the indictment in July, Bush said, “Well, we’re not a member of the ICC, so we’ll see how that plays out.”

The comment follows a similar warning from the French president on Monday, who said “We need the help of the Sudanese government to finally find peace in Darfur. But President Bashir has very little time to decide, his fate is in his hands.”

If the court issues an indictment, there could be “serious consequences” for the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), said senior Sudanese government officials in direct warnings to the UN secretary-general and his special representative. UNMIS is tasked with monitoring the north-south peace agreement, which was signed in 2005 after the war in Darfur had already begun.

The Bush administration has pushed for a 26,000-strong peacekeeping force in Darfur, about half of which is currently in place. Deployment of the joint UN-African Union force is slowed by insecurity, according to the UN secretary-general’s latest report on the mission, which pointed to a backlog aggravated by trucking contractors’ fear of attacks.

The United Nations has for months been seeking six attack and 18 transport helicopters to support the force. But US special envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson told UN chief last March that the UN should not be hung on the issue of helicopters needed by the Darfur force.

"I am frustrated with the pace of activities," said the president after meeting with Dr. Halima Bashir, a Darfuri woman who was tortured and gang-raped after witnessing government militia surround a school and rape dozens of girls and their teachers.

Bush stressed that the United Nations must expedite sending troops to the region, where 2.7 million people are displaced by attacks.

"The United States continues to stand at the ready to provide airlift," said Bush, referring to negotiations with the UN for the U.S. to fly troops and equipment to airports in Darfur, bypassing hundreds of miles of dangerous roads. "The pace of action out of the United Nations is too slow," he added.

Political process in the Sudan continues to be facilitated by Qatari mediators and an AU-UN mediator, but rebel leaders are reluctant to negotiate with the ruling party, which itself is at odds with its 2005 peace partner over national security legislation, election preparations and other issues.

"We support the mediation process by the AU-UN mediator,” specified Bush. “In other words, we recognize in order for there to be peace in Darfur that parties must come to the table in good faith and solve the problems."

After his remarks, Bush invited Dr. Bashir to speak. She said, “I’m very happy because now Darfur victims’ voices is heard in the White House and to the American people and to the world.”

Teh Darfuri refugee peered out from behind a striking red, white and black head-to-toe covering that White House aides said she put on just before journalists entered the room, as protection from possible reprisals.

Her message to the president was “to do more work in Darfur to handle the situation … and just to stop the genocide and the crisis in Darfur, because it’s been now more than five years and we do not need to wait anymore. We need real action.”

Dr. Bashir is the author of the book "Tears of the Desert," which describes her life before the war and her account of survival. Meeting with her and reporters at the White House, Bush remarked, “This good soul brings firsthand accounts to what life is like in Darfur. She has witnessed violence, deprivation, and she carries a message of a lot of people who want our help.”

(ST)

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  • 11 December 2008 22:26, by Freedom Fighter

    To President Bush,

    This is the best gift of Eid Al-Adha to the people of Darfur and to all the Sudanses as well. While praising you and your outgoing administration for being so kind to our people that your were able to draw world’s attention to Darfur crisis, I hope incoming president Obama will not only follow your foot steps, but also, live up to his compaign message for creating no fly zone

    repondre message

    • 13 December 2008 06:07, by Lokorai

      Peace first before justice Mr. Freedom in fighter. Your monotonous song about "ICC oyee", "Ocampo oyee", "Bashir to hell", "GOSS to hell" will turn to a blessing to us who are here aware of your evil and relentless pursue of justice before peace by group who are either Darfuris/Southerner exilers who will have nothing to lose. There must be a framework to apply justice.

      We all know that the ICC ruling is going to go ahead because of powerful nation backing it, but remember Darfuris first would be effected and Southern Sudan second; if you are Darfuris, think again and if you are a Southerner, then think about your short and long term objectives within that hostile scenarios.

      Look, not everybody is a beneficiary to the regime as you often label intellectuals on this website. Until the end of this year you will recall what is being humbly whispered here by those who call for restrain. Peace and justice can never be enforced they won’t be achieved!

      Lokorai

      repondre message

      • 13 December 2008 09:07, by Freedom Fighter

        Lokorai,

        who blames you for your ignorance about the role played by diaspra group during the war and in achieving the CPA. The people you called them quote "Southerner exilers" , their contribution to the struggle was recognized by Dr. Garang, and they were named as seven front of the SPLM/A in March 2003. I’ve never said hell to GOSS. In fact, I’m fighting for the real GOSS which is free of corruption and free of Khartoum’s influence. Please be informed that I’m not a Darfurian. I’m a Dinka from Bhar-Elgazal but my mind is still at where we were left at by Dr. Garang. I thought we entered the government in Sudan for the purpose to peacefully dismental the NCP/NIF regime, and to establish a democratic government in Khartoum that will respect the CPA. Please correct me if Dr. Garang was wrong.

        repondre message

        • 14 December 2008 01:45, by Chameleon Chameleon

          Freedom fighter,

          I totally supported your comment not just becuase you’re a Dinka like me, I do absolutely supported your comment because you make your point very clear and contructive. In other words, you emphazised the main reason why you fought for 21 years. Lastly, keep up your good.

          repondre message

  • 15 December 2008 17:42, by Brad

    I am an American who stumbled upon this article while learning about the Darfur atrocities. I agree with you all that my country should do much more than we are to help the downtrotten Darfur region.

    repondre message

    • 16 December 2008 21:46, by SUDANI

      this for all .please iwonna tell american about those people called them self strugglers you know well all sudan affected by war and the neglection is side effect and all people should know that the sudan goverment represent all sudanese people even Darfurian and South and i think those people need for political refugees fund in euro area or USA and please say other story for your cases.OMER ALBASHEER give us the peace and owner no way every one in the sudan know that???

      repondre message

      • 16 December 2008 21:50, by SUDANI

        you have own sense your are slave no one resposible for this feeling i am surp.se ?? freedom fighter from overseas by remote control you cheet??

        repondre message

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