Darfur Union in the UK – The Significance of Karadzic Sentencing by the ICC and its Parallel to Bashir Indictment by the very Court
By Osama Mahmoud
also Darfur Union position on the Latest Strategic Consultations Meeting Between the Sudanese Government and the Opposition
Karadzic – Bashir Express
It took more than 21 years for the victims of the Bosnian war (Srebrenica genocide) and their relatives to see the sentencing of main perpetrator before their eyes.
Radovan Karadzic, aka the “Butcher of Bosnia” was found guilty of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The crimes were committed by the Bosnian Serb forces between 1992-1995 under direct commands from Karadzic, and as a result he was sentenced on Thursday (24th March 2016) by the International Criminal Court in Le Hague to 40 years’ imprisonment.
The waiting game is one of the most cruel aspects of the justice system, yet it is important to prove with damning evidence and beyond no reasonable doubt that the person(s) in question had acted with intent to cause such havoc and atrocities.
21 years after Karadzic indictment by the ICC, he got tangled by the architecture of international law. The very justice he denied his victims was offered to him, yet the indicators and evidence of atrocities his soldiers committed against the innocent people of Bosnia were overwhelming and justice eventually prevailed.
Between Bashir of Sudan and Karadzic
The Rhetoric is almost identical. Back in 1993, amid the vicious war against the people of Srebrenica, Karadzic was asked by international journalists about ‘alleged systematic crimes by his troops’ against the innocent population of Srebrenica and the selective targeting on the basis of religious belief and ethnicity. He stood up dismissing the ‘allegation’ and the world double standard against his government, lack of evidence and lastly emphasised on the right his government to run the country by the way ‘they’ see suit.
Years later the very words were echoed/ been used by Bashir of Sudan in his denial of any wrong doing in Darfur. Bashir Infamous Speech in Elfashir in March 2009, in a defiant act after his indictment by the ICC he said “Anyone who supports the court is under my shoe, http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-sudanbashir9-2009mar09-story.html”. He went on and on using colourful words to describe the former general prosecutor of the ICC as well as to claim the reported numbers of dead in Darfur were fabricated,m; it was not 300000 as the west claimed, it is JUST 10000!
7 years ago, where Luis Ocampo, the former general prosecutor of the ICC, announced that his team have gathered enough evidence to prosecute Omer Bashir, the sitting president of Sudan, for crimes committed under his commands, that counts for the following:
5 counts for crimes against humanity
2 counts of war crimes
3 counts of genocide
The gathering of evidence was concluded by the 12th of July 2010, under the statue of Rome. Two warrants of arrest issued by the Pre Trial Chamber are out there, and the perpetrator (Bashir) is still at large.
Since then, several light attempts were put in place to arrest Bashir, in Kenya, Nigeria and the last one was in South Africa, June 2015. During Bashir visit to participate in AU summit, an interim order was made by the high court in Pretoria, barring President Bashir from leaving South Africa, after civil organisations called for his arrest on the basis of an ICC warrant. Bashir managed to escape after the executive bodies failed to conduct the judiciary orders. The South African appeal court has accused the government of “disgraceful conduct” in allowing Sudanese president (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/16/south-african-court-rules-failure-to-detain-omar-al-bashir-was-disgraceful). This came as an embarrassment to SA government, and as a huge disappointment to the people of Sudan in Darfur, and justice advocates around the world. Nonetheless, the ICC prosecution case against Bashir has proved to be a source of discomfort to the perpetrator and his government, and it is a source of inspiration for the people of the region. Since the indictment, Bashir and his militias have waged a viscous war in Darfur. As of the 18th of March 2016, UN OCHA have reported up to 98000 civilians fleeing the violence in Western Darfur. Bashir has also extended his genocidal plans to the regions of Nuba Mountains and Blue Niles.
AOB? – the Recent Strategic Consultation Between Bashir Regime and the Sudan Opposition
Yet another meeting was held in the Ethiopian capital between Sudan Government and the opposition chaired by the AU mediator Thabo Mbeki, to agree on a roadmap that will aim to focus on cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access before to reach a peace agreement, and the need to hold a pre-dialogue meeting outside the country to prepare for an inclusive conference inside Sudan. The reality is that the roadmap was concentrating on promoting Bashir’s National Dialogue which according to observers was born dead because it is orchestrating by Bashir under his roof as well as its complete failure to address the pressing humanitarian in West Darfur.
The irony was that the roadmap ended being signed by two parties, the Sudanese government and the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).
While the ink of the one sided agreement is yet to be dried on paper, the blood of innocent Sudanese in Darfur is been shed on the backdrop of the government bombardment and shelling in West Darfur – Jebel Mara Mount to be specific. News have surfaced that the international community is putting pressure and deadlines for the parties involved to sign the roadmap agreement under its current status. This pressure is certainly misplaced and is deemed to result in failed roadmap, just like its predecessors. The reason being it focuses dialogue in the Sudan while failing to address pressing issues such as Sudan government denying access to aid agencies to reach internally displaced people in West Darfur and other war affected areas. The rushed approach to sign a less than half-baked agreement will act as a green light for Bashir government to commit more atrocities.
Plea to the UK and the international community
Darfur Union in the United Kingdom calls upon the international community to put pressure on the Sudan government to allow access of aid agencies to war affected areas in Darfur.
plea to the UK, US and EU and UN, to stand with the people of Darfur, by putting pressure on the government of Sudan, to allow aid and humanitarian agencies to have full access to the affected areas.
Another request is to give the ICC the necessary supports to opening new investigations into breaches of international laws in Darfur and Nuba Mountains.
Most importantly, the support that is given by the UK to the UNAMID forces, we asked that is continue in conjunction with reform in the organisation that will enable the force to execute the UN mandate in Darfur.
• All the previous ‘peace agreement’, including the Doha Document for Peace have failed to bring about hint of peace to the region. Mass killing, mass rape, enforced displacement of people has continued. A long lasting peace process requires the International Community to play its diplomatic role, in bring all involved parties, including civil societies to have the voices of the masses heard.
• It is high time to address Sudan government’s plans to dismantle the IDP camps across Darfur, which is taking place under the so-called Darfur Referendum on April 2016 (https://darfurunionuk.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/darfur-union-in-the-uk-position-on-darfur-referendum-by-al-bashir-government/)
We plea to the European Union to reconsider its proposed plans, and to halt the payment of the proposed grant to the government of Sudan http://wp.me/p77ak4-5E, which will end contributing to the displacement of more innocent people of Sudan.
It is high time for the world to live to its pledge of NEVER AGAIN.
Together we can make a difference and give a voice to the voiceless.
Deputy Press Officer, Darfur Union in the United Kingdom
Twitter handle: @Darfurunionuk