The world is holding its breath in anticipation of tomorrow’s announcement by the ICC – will the Court uphold Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s request to indict Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur?
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has an op-ed in today’s NY Times calling on African leaders to be staunch supporters of Bashir’s indictment. He argues that the issuance of an arrest warrant “would be an extraordinary moment for the people of Sudan — and for those around the world who have come to doubt that powerful people and governments can be called to account for inhumane acts.” Archbishop Tutu eloquently addresses the accusations that the ICC is biased against African cases, and writes that, “as painful and inconvenient as justice may be, we have seen that the alternative — allowing accountability to fall by the wayside — is worse.” (Listen to Archbishop Tutu speak at the Council last April here.)
There is much controversy over the the possible consequences of an indictment of President Bashir, addressed by Alex de Waal in an article on OpenDemocracy. He writes that many people fear an arrest warrant would mean “restriction or expulsion of UN missions, the end of Sudan’s comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) agreed in January 2005, and new outbreaks of violence.” To learn more about the situation, check out the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) blog, and watch the news tomorrow for the ICC’s announcement.