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Darfur: Diplomacy or Prosecution? Reflections on These Approaches as Means to Get to a Resolution of the Conflict
As the conflict in Darfur continues claiming victims whose stories and numbers are both horrific and threatening, the international community cannot figure out how to respond effectively to this situation of gross violations of human rights.
Just recently the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno Ocampo, filed ten charges, including genocide, against the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir. The evidence was referred to a panel of three judges of the ICC to determine if an arrest warrant will be issued by the ICC, If the ICC decides to go forward with the charges it will be the first time that an arrest warrant is issued by a court against a sitting head of state. The government of Sudan rejects the ICC jurisdiction and hopes that a vote in the United Nations Security Council will preclude the ICC to go forward with the charges against al-Bashir. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7500437.stm
The tough approach taken by the ICC has already been criticized by some in the diplomatic community as being an ineffective approach, which is in conflict with the diplomatic approach to the resolution of the crisis. The former U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan, Andrew Natsios has declared that "The indictment may well shut the last remaining peaceful settlement for the country." The facts of the Darfur situation indicate that there have been more than 300,000 people dead, with so many women raped or abducted and taken as sex slaves by the opposition or government authorities, and that there are now more than a dozen rebel groups involved in the negotiated resolution process. How many more victims is the so called "civilized world' be willing to accept before it comes to the conclusion that a "peaceful" diplomatic solution to the conflict may not be possible when confronted with the facts of this case?
Taking into account the complexity of the case, should international forces come in as a world police and intervene in a sovereign country when gross human rights violations are occurring, or is the world better off letting conflicts like this one in Darfur to be resolved locally or regionally in order to contain the effects of the violence into local areas despite the horror of the abuses taking place?