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March 4th, 2009
09:23 AM ET

Will Africa let Sudan off the hook?

Program note: For more details about the International Criminal Court's moves against Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, tune into AC360° tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

The New York Times
Desmond Tutu

The expected issuance of an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan by the International Criminal Court tomorrow presents a stark choice for African leaders — are they on the side of justice or on the side of injustice? Are they on the side of the victim or the oppressor? The choice is clear but the answer so far from many African leaders has been shameful.

Because the victims in Sudan are African, African leaders should be the staunchest supporters of efforts to see perpetrators brought to account. Yet rather than stand by those who have suffered in Darfur, African leaders have so far rallied behind the man responsible for turning that corner of Africa into a graveyard.

In response to news last July that Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the court’s chief prosecutor, was seeking an arrest warrant for President Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, the African Union issued a communiqué to the United Nations Security Council asking it to suspend the court’s proceedings. Rather than condemn the genocide in Darfur, the organization chose to underscore its concern that African leaders are being unfairly singled out and to support President Bashir’s effort to delay court proceedings.

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Filed under: Darfur • Desmond Tutu • Keeping Them Honest
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