By Ali Alarabi
The indictment of Sudan’s president comes as a dangerous and unhelpful development on the issue of Darfur and the unfortunate victims in that troubled region of Sudan.
The issue of Darfur is a political issue that bids militant groups that use violence to fight a legitimate government over perceived injustices, is not supposed to be resolved through a criminal indictment of a head of state, but rather through political reconciliation between the state and the groups that fight it.
Indeed there are legal questions with the regards to the legality of the indictment and a possible international arrest warrant against President Bashir and whether president Bashir is entitled to an immunity or not. In light of the fact that Sudan is not a signatory to the Roma Statute that established the Criminal Court makes this case a very complicated legal case that opens the question whether this statute can only bind states that are party to it and not others who are not such as the United Sates, and whether the security council resolution 1593 that refers the case to the Court did or can imply the removal of immunity of a sitting head of state or not.
Aside form the humanitarian crises that arose out of this conflict, we must not forget that Sudan, the state, is entitled to preserve its geographical integrity and prevent any party domestic or international from break the country up through armed struggle.
In the United States hundreds of thousands of Americans died in a civil war that commenced by the federal government against one of its regions in order to preserve the unity of the country and prevent its dismemberment. Even today, the United States government or any government for that matter would not let any state or group from simply spilt or breakaway from the country.
International law however, as it appears to be, is there to punish weak and third world countries if they were deemed misbehaving according to standards of Western powers. As this issue demonstrates, International law is there to preserve the interests and the power of big powers against small helpless nations. Sudan is perceived to be not playing by the rules set forth by western powers when it comes to its energy supplies, its stand on the Arab Israeli conflict and its position on Iraq.
Take for example Israel, a country that violates international law by continuing its occupation of Palestinian lands, and other Arab lands for that matter, has unilaterally declared Jerusalem as its capital where international law clearly states that Jerusalem is an occupied city and therefore it is illegal to declare it as an integral part of the state of Israel or change its geography or demographics by building Jewish-only settlements. Furthermore, when it comes to the wall Israel is building on occupied territories, international law sided with the Palestinian legal argument and declared the wall illegal, yet Israel simply ignored it, and no international body and no country is willing to do anything about it.
More, there are legal arguments as well as moral, against those responsible for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, a country that did not attack or threatened the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed as result of this war in addition to millions displaced or were made refugees. So, we see that for political considerations, western powers can get away with virtually anything, but poor nations would have to bear the full brunt of the law.
That said however, President Bashir should do more to help his country to come out of this ugly war and bring Darfur and its tribes back to the fold of Sudan on equal footing with peaceful resolution to this tragic conflict. But with this indictment, the international community is exasperating the problem and complicates matters even worse especially for all of the innocent victims in Sudan.
– Ali Alarabi is a member of Arab American writers group syndicate is a veteran Arab American journalist. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.