Sunday, October 12, 2008

No Peace in Darfur without Accountability

By: Salih Mahmoud*

Excerpts from an article published on the website of Coalition of the ICC, and titled:
Do not deprive Darfurians of their right of justice

"Recently, while still president, Mbeki travelled to Sudan and issued a statement arguing that the proposed arrest warrant would undermine lasting peace in Sudan. If only we can tempt Bashir to co-operate with the UN for the first time, the argument runs, who cares about responsibility for the hundreds of thousands who already lost their lives in this conflict, and millions more driven from their homes?

The answer is that Darfurians will care. And so should anybody who cares about Darfur. Darfurians do not have peace (there is no peace process in Darfur) and they do not have security, they cannot now be asked to give away justice as well. Contrary to Mbeki’s statement, most of the displaced see justice as a precondition for return and for lasting peace. Indeed, there will be no peace and no security in Darfur without accountability.

Theoretically, the deal which governments now seem so eager to agree on would be valid for a mere 12 months. But the chances that the immunity would then be renewed are dangerously high.That would be an insult to the people of Darfur, and to victims of human rights abuses worldwide.

If there is no accountability for Darfur, that will set a dangerous precedent at the council, which tyrants of the future far beyond Darfur and Sudan will be eager to repeat. The preventive and the punitive power of the court will be immeasurably damaged. Darfurians wish to live in peace.

After what we have lived through, how could we not? But to do so we need the support of the international community, much as South Africans did to overcome apartheid. Unfortunately, the international community has failed to give necessary material and political support to peacekeeping troops on the ground or to peace negotiators."

Read the full article here:
* Salih Mahmoud came to Amherst in 2006 as part of the Speaking Tour organized by darfur Alert Coalition of Philadelphia

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