Home | News    Tuesday 27 January 2009

Sudan expert calls for ‘unconditional’ deferral of Bashir indictment


January 26, 2009 (WASHINGTON) — A leading Sudan expert called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to exercise its power and suspend any arrest warrant that may be issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

Alex de Waal

“Sudan is in a state of high tension at the moment, and we face a dangerous month ahead… The immediate cause of the tension is the expected arrest warrant to be issued by the ICC” Alex de Waal of the New York-based Social Science Research Council said in his blog.

“My proposal is that the UN Security Council should invoke Article 16 without condition” De Waal said.

The international community is bracing for a decision by the ICC judges who are reviewing ten counts presented by prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in mid-July that include three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder and accused Al-Bashir of masterminding a campaign to get rid of the African tribes in Darfur; Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa.

A decision is widely expected to be made in the coming weeks.

Khartoum has failed to convince Western members at the UNSC to support a suspension under Article 16 of the Rome Statute despite intense diplomacy by Arab and African countries.

De Waal pointed out that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) “sees the ICC as the gravest threat to its survival it has ever faced and a matter of life and death”.

Sudanese officials have threatened unspecified retaliatory measures if the ICC judges endorse the charges against Bashir. They further said that Westerners could be targeted by “outlaws” following an arrest warrant.

The Sudan expert saw the recent upsurge in fighting in Darfur as being connected to the general atmosphere created by the ICC move.

“I think that there is sufficient threat to peace and security arising in the current situation for the Security Council to have reason to be seized of the matter” De Waal said.

“I do not support putting conditions on the Article 16 deferral. Using every opportunity for leverage on the Sudan Government is not a strategy but a habit, and in my view the absolute priority is to focus on the CPA and Sudan’s progress towards democracy and stability, and only when that objective is agreed does it make any sense to apply additional leverage” he added.

De Waal has been of the main critics of the ICC move saying it jeopardizes the North-South peace agreement signed in 2005 and may escalate the five years Darfur conflict.


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  • 27 January 2009 07:19, by Angelo M

    Brother Waal, since you know that "Using every opportunity for leverage on the Sudan Government is not a strategy but a habit," then you got to understand that Bashire delights in using threat to evade justice (also his habit). You also got to know that there will always be some kind of threats at their finger tip.

    I seriously believe that if CPA depends on Bashire being in power (like Mugabe)and declaring him innocent, then CPA had become something else than the one I know. CPA was agreed and signed to be able to stand alone whether or not either John Garang de Mabior, Bashire, or Ali Osman is alive, sick or dead. You may well know that John Garang de Mabior was dead few months after CPA was signed, yet the South allowed CPA to stand. This is the real CPA.

    In Sudan as of now, CPA is the binding constitution. And CPA is being used as a shield against justice and democracy, then CPA is being begged and therefore unconstitutional. Peace got to be sweet for all of us including Bashire himself, if he want to send the country back to war, then he certainly would whether he is indicted or not. Let’s separate his indictment from the CPA.

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    • 27 January 2009 07:53, by Gatbentiu

      Dear Angelo,your comment has force me to say a word of appreciation,These are the type of commence S.Sudanese love to read,instead of abusing people.
      Infact am alway supporting those who said that Omar can not be taken to ICC,but justic ’must’be done,Omar as president of this country has commited a lot of crimes starting from South Sudan,but remember during our struggle the world was keeping quiete and watch at us in far place,now its Darfur’s turn and the world is cry ’genocide’
      I can conclude by saying that let the Darfuris ’mind their own bussiness’

      Otherwise am happy with your comment Mr Angelo.


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    • 27 January 2009 08:12, by david med

      I cannot agree more, Mr. Angelo. You have summed Mr. De Waal’s logic up perfectly. Remember: de Waal was the architect of the DPA. Remember how well that turned out?

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  • 27 January 2009 07:49, by Freedom Fighter

    There is no tension moment in Sudan at the moment. Mr. Alex is either a confused expertist or lost an income due to current economic crisis in the US and wants to establish business with Albashir. The threat of an arrest warrant against Abshir is working and it will work faster when issued. Currently, it has produced the so-called people of Sudan’s initiative and Qateri initiative for the solution of Darfur problem. Arrest warrant should not be defered until either one of these two initiative has actually materialized.

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    • 27 January 2009 09:02, by Saaid Nafe

      People should not get panic of Albashir arrest; Albashir arrest will not affect CPA because when our hero came to Khartoum he declared in the public speech that CPA is not belong to him neither to Albashir, CPA is for the people of Sudan .Therefore no worry about Albashir arrest .Let southerners read the current situation properly so that they should not fall themselves like before in 1947

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  • 27 January 2009 08:43, by Bazinguaboy

    Although I do not agree with most of Mr. de Waal’s statements on Sudan, I think he has to be given some credit for this particular piece. The focus here should be on the people of Sudan (wherever they are) who have suffered long and deserve some quite in their life.

    Just look at what LRA’s Joseph Kony has done with the sceptre of an ICC indictment over his head. I think the man is tired and just wants to get out of the bush but is afraid of an indictment and therefore has to keep on chopping off body parts as he seeks a safe haven while eluding escape.

    Justice will surely catch up with the perpetrators but for now, do spare our people the pain of losing more of their loved ones to somebody eluding justice or to another who would invoke a violent retaliation from the ICC-threatened guy just in order to find the opportunty to scream JUSTICE! and to point a finger and say, "we told you he has to be indicted!"

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    • 27 January 2009 14:18, by Lokorai

      That is a prospective of an expert and agree with de Waal in total. The deferral of the ICC serves as n important departure from mere retribution when conditions for justice aren’t there in the first place.

      President Kiir of the South sum it up all and he should be supported by those who care about the welfare of the Sudanese people. Its us who would want to separate the ICC from CPA but in reality, the two are interrelated and Al Bashir should be supported! I hope there is another voice like this one.

      Busy bodies and nuts will continue to bark on facts or playing around with fire on their own perils, or want others to suffer when they won’t be there to help.

      But also there is no need to panic, the ICC will truly bury the case soon to the chagrin of those who want to do away with baby in the bucket; long live CPA, long live Al Bashir, down with imperialists and reactionaries!

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  • 27 January 2009 14:56, by Michael Asher FRSL

    Alex de Waal’s statement makes me wonder just how much of a ’Sudan expert’ he is. Evidently he has no feel for the Sudan or its people: his view is an ’ivory tower’ academic view of someone who does not know the country well, doesn’t speak Arabic, and whose opinions derive mainly from sterile academic papers by others like himself.

    The ICC is in its infancy: at last the world community has a unique opportunity to curtail the excesses of African bullies, not only in the Sudan but elsewhere, who think they can dodge justice because it is ’their’ country. They must understand that there are no longer any ’private domains’ in the world: any act committed against the people of Darfur is an act against all humanity - against us all.

    I was in Darfur last year, interviewing members of the ’Janjaweed’ ( I DO speak Arabic) and my colleagues and I were left in no doubt that these tribes had been coerced into joining militias by government manipulation, as a result of their own vulnerability. While this doesn’t excuse individual acts of violence, it does point to the fact that the government are the main culprits.

    Please, Mr. Ocampo, do not listen to the likes of the ’so-called’ experts for whom conflict in the Sudan is a career: listen to those with feeling for human suffering. Justice should never be expedient. If the ICC backs down now, its credibility is finished, and so dies the only true hope for the future of the world’s most beleaguered continent.

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  • 27 January 2009 19:46, by lotueng Junub

    Mr. Alex de Waal.there is a saying that goes ’It is the wearer of the shoes who knows where its pinches’ we in Sudan knows better about Bashir and his ICC indictment and we have a sole reason why we says El Bashir should face his charges at the Huge.You are in York New and not in Sudan so,you shouldn’t pokes your nose into Sudanese internal Affairs. Your quest for the UNSC to suspend arrest warrant that may be issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Bashir is baseles because CPA that was signed to ended South-North war is not for a person but for the Sudanese people when Dr.John Garang died in the Chopper crashed has it jeopardize the Peace? what is so special with Bashir? he is like any other common citizen in Sudan.

    I doubt your expertise considering your attempt to evade the rule of law.

    Lotueng Junub. Egypt

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    • 28 January 2009 01:50, by Paul Muortat

      One does not understand why Mr Alex de Waal is getting involved specially as the International Criminal Court has named the person (or persons ) , collected enough evidence and is in the process of deciding on issuing an arrest warrant .
      Darfur is still bleeding and Southern Sudan has bleed for 21 year plus 17years, and if the world has awaken, - at last - and has come in support of the suffered, the tortured, the murdered and the oppressed, Mr de Waal should not come in trying to derail the process. One wonders in whose name or for which reason is he doing all these?
      Is he trying to justify the atrocities committed against the innocent children, old men and women, directly targeted by President‘s El Bashir army, today in Darfur and yesterday in South Sudan?
      Mr de Waal is also misguided in arguing for withdrawn mend or suspension of the warrant of arrest, as that means surrendering to the wishes of the accused. Such an action will also question the credibility of the case and at worst it means trading with the innocent victims in Darfur and South Sudan, in return for more of the same.
      As for his fears for the Sudan, Mr de Waal should be advised, that Sudan may in fact rise stronger after the warrant is issued. The people are crying for justice, in a country that has never seen any.

      Paul Muortat

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  • 31 January 2009 02:07, by buokdeng

    I worked in Liberia during the civil war. It was then I saw the role of UN and NGOs personnel in conflict perpetuation. Most of the personnel assigned to conflict areas are from very poor countries. They become rich overnight with salaries in hard currencies. These people have no interest in the conclusion of the conflict. Then you have those from the West, the likes of Alex who walk the corridors of the UN headquarters and Western capitals with credentials and knowledge of conflict resolution. They have learned long time ago that there is money to be made in conflicts. You map out conflict area and learn about everything even household names. You become an expert and of course a consultant. Once you achieved that status the organization of the UN depends on you for advice. The objective is therefore achieved and from there after people like Alex can masquerade in cheep closing as experts. They are diamond blood suckers or oil blood in the case of Sudan
    I want the readers of this article to understand that this not an attack on the UN and the NGOs. The intentions of these organizations are clear and humanitarian but rather those who carry out field activities and the so called experts and advisers.


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