One Year Later

The New York Times recently had this important editorial on Darfur. It's good to see that there is still some attention out there for Darfur, an issue that it seems many people have started to give up on. It starts with this:

"In January, President Bush said this about Darfur: “My administration called this genocide. Once you label it genocide, you obviously have to do something about it.”

Yet, last week — nearly one year later — this is what the International Criminal Court prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, told the United Nations Security Council about Darfur: “Genocide continues. Rapes in and around the camps continue. Humanitarian assistance is still hindered. More than 5,000 displaced persons die each month.” How can this still be?

One of the most interesting parts of this article to me was that the author seemed to be celebrating the role of the International Criminal Court and Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo for finally putting some real pressure on the government in Sudan. While the killing has not stopped, the government of Sudan has taken a few superficial steps towards peace, such as calling a ceasefire and pledging to prosecute war criminals. Although these steps at the moment seem to be merely aimed at saving face rather than genuinely working towards peace, it is precisely these sorts of moves that Canada, the US, and other nations should pick up on and build off of. Even a superficial step can turn into reality if there were other nations holding the government accountable to the pledges it makes and the words it speaks in this time period. So I tend to agree with the author of this article - Moreno-Ocampo has generated some real it's just time for some one else to pick up on the "ripe moment" he has helped create.

1 comment:

Scott Fenwick said...

It's depressing that peace is conflicting with justice, as what's happening in Darfur. The indictments against the Sudanese president threaten any kind of peace, while justice may have to be sacrificed to get peace. This has to be unprecedented.

To keep things short, I believe that this resulted from the lack of coordination internationally amongst Darfur advocates. You had a number of people lobbying the American government to drop the use of its veto on the UN Security Council when the vote for referring Darfur to the ICC came up.

At the same time, we had others lobbying the Security Council to send peacekeepers to Darfur (despite the fact that there's no peace to keep). Both succeeded.

The result: we have the UN under hostage by the same government that's causing the war in the first place. As of 2008, the world can only pursue either peace or justice, but not both at the same time.