A UN Security Council resolution to redouble efforts to end a 5-year humanitarian disaster in Darfur is set for a vote today. The resolution will include wording that reiterates the AU's concerns that the recent ICC move to indict the Sudanese president has the potential of derailing the peace process. It also secures readiness by the Council to discuss suspending the indictment in the interest of peace. Sudan's UN Ambassador finds the resolution acceptable. The ICC recent move was referenced as a condition of renewing the mandate by nearly half of the Security Council. The resolution also expresses the Security Council's "deep concern for the decreasing security of humanitarian personnel." The resolution demands an end to civilian attacks. Out of a planned 26,000 troops, only 9,500 troops and police have been deployed. This has been due to Khartoum's insistence that the peacekeepers be Africans. Equipment and helicopters are still urgently needed. The resolution calls on UN member states to fill this need. The target date for full deployment by the UN is unknown, however the UN hopes to have be 80% of the way there by the end of the year. The resolution is a crucial step toward making UNAMID functional.
With international concern being focused on what is going on in Darfur since the ICC call to indict the Sudanese President, UNAMID has reported that there have been 33 confidence-building patrols, five night patrols, and continued escorts of humanitarian assistance. UNAMID's General Agwai has called for an investigation into the bombings in North Darfur. UNAMID reported a robbery of the Medicine Sans Frontiers clinic where $9,000 were stolen. They reported the blockage of an escort convoy operation over the weekend. As far as sharing the Secretary General's stance on the UNAMID force, Spokeswoman Michele Montas said that Ban Ki Moon has been "deeply disappointed" in the force and that he has acknowledged that deployment has fallen far behind schedule.
The Security Counil discussed the draft resolution yesterday and is expected to vote on it today.
The UN Security Council has been deep in discussions about extending the mandate of a joint African Union-UN mission to Darfur, which expires today. South Africa and Libya want to include language in the mandate regarding the delay of ICC charges against the Sudanese President. Russia and China also want to delay the moves against Bashir. EU countries see little change in the behavior of Khartoum. The Sudanese Ambassador to the UN, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem has said that the politically motivated decision by Ocampo is unfair, unjust and an affront to Africa. He has said that Sudan is being unfairly singled out by Ocampo. Finally, he has called Ocampo, "a screwdriver in the workshop of double standards."
Eight members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) were handed death sentences after being found guilty of counterterrorism. They were sentenced to hang. Judge Muntasim Mohamed Saleh presided at the special court in Khartoum North. In response to the May 10th attacks on Omdurman and Khartoum, Sudan set up four special courts to try those suspected of the attack. Defense attorneys have claimed that the special courts are unconstitutional and lack guarantees for their clients' legal rights. Kamal Omar, one of the defense attorneys, has called the courts "political" and "not independent." Appeals are expected. JEM members hail from the tribes that have been under attack - the Masalit, Fur and Zaghawa. Bashir has granted amnesty to 89 juveniles who were arrested following the attacks.
As was expected, China's top official newspaper printed that the ICC indictment of Bashir could disrupt the peace process. The People's Daily stated that the Darfur crisis "has not been caused single-handedly by a certain leader, but by the joint force of various political, economic, cultural and environmental factors over a long period of time." They also stated that the indictment added uncertainty to the peace process. The commentary predicts that this could push the Sudan government in the opposite direction of finding a resolution for the conflict through consultations. They predict also that it could cause rebel groups to take a tougher and more non-compromising stance. It concluded that attempts to disrupt or block the peace process should be avoided by the international society.
From My Perspective
When Uganda was faced with ICC indictments of its leaders, the Uganda government still was ready to hold talks with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Since the LRA showed its intention for peace, government representatives expressed that it wasn't the international community's problem, especially not The Hague's. This strengthened nationalism. Some analysts saw the moves in Uganda by the ICC as a pursuit of political gain, not with the intent to gain peace for the people caught in the war. The ICC came under intense scrutiny for its Ugandan approach to justice. As some have noted, and I agree with, although justice and peace can be complimentary, believing their reciprocal correlation can also be misleading.
Consider how justice is pursued. It's a lot of finger-pointing. In a complex situation where many parties are part of the reality of a conflict, in the end more time is spent gathering evidence about someone's guilt than addressing the grievances among the parties and reaching consensus to improve the quality of life of those suffering. It's righteous to pursue justice, but how do the victims in Darfur feel closure for the cruel and unusual aspects of war that they have had to endure while prosecutors spend their days putting their cases together to put away suspects who have been rounded up for prosecution? Where does the peace deal fit in?
No doubt these are difficult issues, and in the Uganda case it appears that the result of the ICC's investigation was increased international support for the peace talks.
Amnesty is a reality of conflict resolution in many international conflicts. In South Africa, leaders were given amnesty as part of the truth and reconciliation process so that they might end apartheid. As long as they disclosed their politically motivated crimes, this allowed South Africa to move toward a post-conflict society.
In the ICTJ's assessment mission to Mozambique, the ICTJ found that victims made comments about some of the worst offenders being the victims themselves for having been abducted and forced to kill. Many found that their priority was family and community healing, not becoming witnesses in criminal cases. According to the ICTJ, the use of transitional justice tools in Mozambique have gone largely overlooked. Why? The international community did not see efforts by communities and churches to launch projects to heal and reintegrate as part of a national program.
Peace processes are fragile, and if one interest group continually supersedes the interests of another, it will not lead to a peaceful solution. There needs to be an understanding of the interests and motivations of the parties to the conflict and also implementation of previous agreements. Not an ongoing debate on starting from scratch in terms of reaching some sort of resolution. Why isn't the international community trying to come to a deal with the rebels and the Sudanese government? China was pressured to do so and has shown that it has taken steps in doing so. Many people who have been affected by war outside of the West are not motivated by seeking accountability or prosecution. Instead, they seek a process that allows them to express their remorse, their grievances and seek forgiveness and formal apologies. To them, incarceration is not usually a high priority. Often, prosecutions prolong the conflict and continue the suffering for those who have had enough. People need to heal. They need closure not to see images of war that they have experienced in all the media around them as the international community puts justice above victims' rights to not live in fear or in a hostile oppressive environment.