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Debate: Prosecuting Sudan President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes

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Should the international community prosecute the president of Sudan for war crimes?

Background and context

A GENOCIDE is going on in Darfur. So concludes Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), after three years of investigations into the atrocities in Sudan’s ravaged western province. The mastermind behind it all, he suggests, is Sudan’s own president, Omar al-Bashir. On Monday July 14th the prosecutor asked the court to indict Mr Bashir with ten counts of mass crimes, including three for genocide, and to issue a warrant for his arrest. http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11737170

Two million people have fled Darfur in northwest Sudan since 2003, 250,000 of them since last August (1), and the resources of neighbouring Chad are suffering from the strain of 250,000 refugees. The conflict has left 400,000 dead in four years. Aid workers from the United Nations and NGOs have had to move camps 31 times to escape attacks, although this did not prevent the arrest of several aid workers on 19 January in Nyala; they were beaten with rifle butts by the Sudanese police. Twelve aid workers were killed during massacres and five others have disappeared.

Many argue that Sudan has engaged in systematic genocide in the Sudanese region of Darfur. As a result, these individuals have argued that Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir should be charged and convicted of war crimes. Opponents argue it is a distraction and an impediment to resolving the conflict. What is the answer?


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Pro

  • Violation of human rights should be stopped. Over the past five years of conflict between various rebel groups, Sudanese armed forces, and the government-backed militia known as the janjaweed, perhaps 300,000 Darfuris have died and millions have been forced from their homes. To stop genocide which is going on in Sudan and supported by it's president Omar al-Bashir, as Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) claims, ICC should prosecute him.


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Con

  • Prosecution of the president will not stop violation of human rights. Darfur covers an area of some 493,180 square kilometers (190,420 sq mi) approximately the size of Spain. To accuse President of Sudan to be able to personally in control of all the killing in such a large area and to be able to know what each warring factions is doing to the other is a bit of a fallacy. Therefore prosecution of one person, the president Omar al-Bashir will not stop the genocide.


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Pro

  • The president is responsible for all governmental actions. Al-Bashir is the leader of his country, and as the leader he has a responsibility for the equal protection of all people in his country. Rather than step up to that responsibility, as difficult as it may be to do, he has apparently refused his responsibility in favor of some other goal, and by this he reached the total distruction of an entire people, either purposefully or accidentally.


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Con

  • Prosecute will cause much more violence. Sudan’s ruling party has described the case against Mr Bashir as “irresponsible cheap political blackmail” and has threatened more violence if he is indicted. As we already said the president can't commit such crime as genocide alone. This is the group of people, so by prosecuting the president of Sudan the genocide will not stop and may cause even more terrible violence against citizens of Drfur from the government side. Therefor by arresting Omar al-Bashir we are not stopping genocide, vice versa, we are causing more violence.


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Pro

  • Inaction has terrible consequences. We must remember what happened in Rwanda in 1994. In Rwanda in 1994, the United Nations had peacekeeping troops on the ground at the very place and time where genocidal acts were being committed. Initially, the Security Council rejected the possibility of a military response to the crisis, and some Governments refused to allow UN documents to use the word "genocide" to describe the killings taking place in Rwanda. Governments who had contributed troops to UNIMIR called them home when they sustained casualties. Two weeks after the killings began, the Security Council voted to reduce UNIMIR from 2,000 to 270 soldiers. Though UN could prevent genocide, it didn't make anything to protect peace and life of people. It waited for the government request. This is the best evidence showing that inaction can cause death of people. By deferring the prosecution for at least 1 year by Security Council we will get things only worse, genocide will continue. Security Council mustn't make the same mistake as in Rwanda.



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Con

  • UN needs request from government to send peacekeepers to Sudan, Darfur. UN peacekeepers in Rwanda were on different mission, they had different goal. Security council needs a request from the government to send peacekeepers in Sudan, if UN sends it's troops to Sudan without request from the Sudan government, this action will be invasion in other country and violating the sovereignty of Sudan.



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Pro

  • Many of the refugees, mostly non-Arabs, say that militiamen backed by security forces have ridden into their villages on horses and camels, slaughtering men, raping women and stealing whatever they can find.


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Con

  • Genocide in Darfur was not. However authorities of Sudan and their allies - Arabian militia "Janjavid " - made in this province rough infringements of human rights and norms of the international humanitarian right, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. The basic conclusions of the report of the International commission to which the Securitiry council has charged to state a legal estimation of events in the West of Sudan are those.
  • Charges in a genocide of the leader of Sudan of the Lobster of al-Bashir are motivated cleanly politically, were declared today at press conference by vice-president of the country Ali Osman Mohammed Taha. It has added, that neither court, nor public prosecutors do not possess jurisdiction above Sudan as Sudan did not sign the contract about creation of the International criminal court and in any way legally is not connected with its decisions, transfers Associated Press.


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