Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Countdown to International Justice (Day 31)

It was just 31 days ago that the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1593 referring Sudanese war criminals to the Hague-based International Criminal Court. It took less than a day for the Sudanese admininstration to reject the resolution, but the Sudanese parliament was not far behind. On the last day of April, the Sudanese parliament condemned, not only Resolution 1593, but Resolution 1591 as well. They have agreed that all perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity should be tried in Sudanese courts.

KHARTOUM, May 1, 2005 (KUNA) -- The Sudanese parliament condemned Sunday UN resolutions against the Khartoum government and said they were violating all international norms.

The Sudanese MPs called for launching a diplomatic campaign to explain the dimensions and objectives of the UN resolutions.

The lawmakers called for prosecuting all Sudanese people suspected of committing crimes against humanity in Sudanese courts.

The Sudanese government had rejected UN resolution 1593 and said it would not hand over any person suspected of committing these crimes to the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC).

But the government said it was studying UN resolution 1951, which imposed sanctions on people suspected of committing crimes against civilians in Darfur.

* (IB) - The story incorrectly reports the resolution number as 1951 when it should be 1591.

Now, I admit there is much I do not know about the world, but I'm not fool enough to believe trials in the Sudanese courts would be fair or result in any kind of justice. I've also argued whether the International Criminal Court (ICC) is capable of delivering justice to the people of Darfur. However, the fact that the Sudanese government is now actively resisting all of these resolutions will demonstrate to all villains and tyrants the bureaucratic indifference of the United Nations.

Rather than simply leave that statement hanging, let's take a closer look at the resolutions in question, beginning with the relevant operative clauses of Resolution 1593. The first two operative clauses of this resolution refer the situation in Darfur to the ICC and calls into question its own legality.

1. Decides to refer the situation in Darfur since 1 July 2002 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court;

2. Decides that the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur shall cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution and, while recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation under the Statute, urges all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully;

The use of the word shall makes the second clause mandatory, meaning the government of Sudan must cooperate fully with the international Court and Prosecutor. There's only one problem with that; Sudan is not party to the Rome Statute. For that reason, there definitely seems to be a contradiction in the second operative clause of this resolution. The United Nations Security Council's imposition of the Court upon the government of Sudan and its citizens amounts to a clear violation of national sovereignty.

In complete contrast to an over-enthusiastic willingness to violate Sudan's national sovereignty, let's examine the operative clauses of Resolution 1591. Resolution 1591 is basically an imposition of sanctions, but there is an odd scope defined in this resolution. The first two clauses are completely wasted with a feckless deploring of the violence and emphasizing that there can be no military solution to the situation in Darfur. The third clause actually gets around to defining the sanctions and the scope of their application.

3. Decides, in light of the failure of all parties to the conflict in Darfur to fulfil their commitments,

(a) to establish, in accordance with rule 28 of its provisional rules of procedure, a Committee of the Security Council consisting of all the members of the Council (herein “the Committee”), to undertake to following tasks:

i. to monitor implementation of the measures referred to in subparagraphs (d) and (e) of this paragraph and paragraphs 7 and 8 of resolution 1556 (2004), and paragraph 7 below;
ii. to designate those individuals subject to the measures imposed by subparagraphs (d) and (e) of this paragraph and to consider requests for exemptions in accordance with subparagraphs (f) and (g);

(c) that those individuals, as designated by the Committee established by subparagraph (a) above, based on the information provided by Member States, the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights or the Panel of Experts established under subparagraph (b) of this paragraph above, and other relevant sources, who impede the peace process, constitute a threat to stability in Darfur and the region, commit violations of international humanitarian or human rights law or other atrocities, violate the measures implemented by Member States in accordance with paragraphs 7 and 8 of resolution 1556 (2004) and paragraph 7 of this resolution as implemented by a state, or are responsible for offensive military overflights described in paragraph 6 of this resolution, shall be subject to the measures identified in subparagraphs (d) and (e) below;

The subparagraphs (d) and (e) are travel and economic sanctions, but look at the scope of their application; individuals. There is no imposition on the Sudanese government whatsoever. In fact, subparagraphs (f) and (g) mentioned in the excerpt provide exemptions to the travel and economic sanctions for humanitarian and religious purposes. In other words, any Muslim members of the Arab janjaweed militias that have directly participated in the genocide in Darfur, would be able to travel to Saudi Arabia on the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

These resolutions clearly indicate why the United Nations fails, more often than not, to actually resolve violent conflicts in any meaningful way. One resolution attempts to impose sanctions on individuals while shielding the Sudanese government, probably at the insistance of China. The other resolution imposes legal jurisdiction over the government of Sudan, while admittng that Sudan is not legally subject to such an imposition. The Sudanese government has been, and may continue to be, supporting the janjaweed militias perpetrating these crimes within the borders of Sudan. The government has the power to end the violence right now and should be made to do so or risk economic and political isolation, but that doesn't seem to be the direction the United Nations Security Council is heading.


Blogger Mike said...

So it is your contention the U.N. isn't doing enough in Darfur. Are you suggesting the U.N. should act? Or are you just pointing out how useless an organization the U.N. is?

6:15 AM  
Blogger The Indigent Blogger said...

I'm saying the UN should stick to its charter, which clearly defines its authority. In both the above mentioned resolutions, it is decided the situation in Darfur constitute a threat to international peace and security, meeting the obligation of Article 39 of Chapter VII. Articles 41 and 42 spell out exactly what measures the UN can take, and those measures include economic sanctions, blockades, and military intervention.

However, the United Nations can't impose a blockade or even economic sanctions upon the government of Sudan because China would veto such a resolution to defend $15 billion worth of contracts it has with Sudan.

I guess I'm saying these feckless referrals to the ICC and application of so-called "smart sanctions" on individual people is so inane, it is almost laughable. The sanctions should be applied against the government of Sudan or the UN needs to announce to the world that it, in fact, is incapable of stopping the genocide in Darfur because China will not allow it to be stopped.

7:44 AM  

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