|“Darfur End Game: Peace or Justice in Sudan”
Dissent Magazine (on-line), February 17, 2009
The impending International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant charging Khartoum’s President Omar al-Bashir with atrocity crimes gives critical force to a central question: does ending the Darfur conflict really demand that we make a ghastly choice between peace and justice?
How we conceive this choice will determine a great deal about how we confront other decisions amidst ongoing genocidal destruction in Darfur. For if we put “peace” before justice, if ICC prosecution is delayed, then we are giving priority to al-Bashir’s putative role in vaguely possible peace negotiations, conveniently convening in Arab League member Qatar, even as he is responsible for so much of Darfur’s ethnically-targeted human destruction.
In choosing “peace” over justice we are obliged to ignore the fact that this massive destruction
continues apace precisely because of an environment of almost total impunity. The choice of “peace” on any terms will cripple the pursuit of justice and efforts to end impunity in Darfur.
Impunity sustains human destruction in Darfur, and has from the beginning of conflict going back to the 1990s. Efforts to end this impunity cannot simply be sacrificed in order to encourage deeply flawed peace negotiations with a regime that human rights organizations have conclusively demonstrated is the party responsible for creating this climate of impunity--- and for orchestrating human destruction defined all too fully by the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
Were the Security Council to suspend for a year ICC action against al-Bashir, it would be with the bizarre hope that yet further impunity in Darfur will finally yield peace. We are being asked by the proponents of a “peace process,” however flawed, to believe in the good faith of a brutal security cabal that has, in 20 years of power, never honored any agreement made with another Sudanese party. We are being asked to believe that this time a deal with these canny survivalists---who wrested power from an elected government by military coup---will be different.
[ full text at http://dissentmagazine.org/online.php?id=207 ]
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