Dave Eggers and John Prendergast
Special to CNN
We have been part of an extraordinary social phenomenon over the past four years surrounding Darfur: the development of a genuine anti-genocide people's movement. It's succeeded in cultivating a number of true champions in the political sphere, led by three former senators: Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Barack Obama.
Now that Obama, Biden and Clinton are in office, and another fierce anti-genocide advocate, Susan Rice, is in as ambassador to the United Nations, we felt there finally would be a consequence for the perpetrators of the genocide, the regime officials in Khartoum, Sudan.
But rather than the kind of tough actions the these top officials had all advocated in their previous jobs and on the campaign trail, President Obama's Sudan envoy instead began to articulate a friendly, incentives-first message that even Sudan's president, an indicted war criminal, publicly welcomed. Our chins hit the floor in disbelief, because our chins had nowhere else to go.
CNN Senior Producer
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that there had been no decision whether to remove Sudan from a list of terrorism-sponsoring countries.
Sudan is hoping to improve diplomatic ties with the United States. The U.S. is now reviewing how best to deal with the government of Sudan and the crisis in Darfur where an estimated 300-thousand people have been killed and more than two million forced to fell their homes.
“We have made no decision to lift the listing on the terrorist list of Sudan,” Clinton said at the State Department Friday during a picture-taking session. “As you know there is a very intensive review going on within the Administration concerning our policy toward Sudan, but no decisions have been made.”
Clinton’s comments came one day after the Obama Administration’s special envoy to Sudan made headlines saying there is no evidence to keep Sudan on the terror-sponsor list. Envoy Scott Gration told a Senate hearing the terrorism designation was hindering his work, calling it “a political decision.” He said lifting sanctions against Sudan would allow heavy equipment and other assistance to flow more easily to people desperately in need.
The New York Times
One hundred days in office, President Obama has done very well in international affairs with one glaring exception — Darfur. There’s increasing nervousness among Africa-watchers that Obama is neglecting Darfur, or perhaps moving to a more accommodating policy. As the Sudan Tribune just put it, “US State Dept. moves toward appeasement policy with Khartoum.” Here’s what the Tribune said:
The United States of America is positioning itself to become “friends” with the Government of Sudan, seeing this approach as the best way to improve the situation in Darfur and reach a political settlement, according to a closed briefing given by Special Envoy Scott Gration at the US State Department on April 20, 2009.
Nicholas D. Kristof
New York Times
When the International Criminal Court issued its arrest warrant for Sudan’s president on Wednesday, an 8-year-old boy named Bakit Musa would have clapped — if only he still had hands.
I met Bakit a couple of weeks ago in eastern Chad, near the border of Darfur. He and two friends had found a grenade left behind in fighting after Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, armed and dispatched a proxy force to wreak havoc in Chad. The boys played with the grenade, and it exploded, taking both of Bakit’s hands, one eye and the skin on half of his face.
So Bakit became, inadvertently, one more casualty of the havoc and brutality that President Bashir has unleashed in Sudan and surrounding countries. Other children laugh at him, so Bakit plays by himself in the dust on the outskirts of a huge camp for people displaced by Mr. Bashir.
One of Mr. Bashir’s first actions after the arrest warrant was to undertake yet another crime against humanity: He expelled major international aid groups, including the International Rescue Committee and the Dutch section of Doctors Without Borders.
I’m on my way to the studio downstairs to interview George Clooney about Darfur. He recently returned from the region.
There was big news on that story today–the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for leading a five-year campaign of violence in Darfur. It’s the first arrest warrant ever issued for a sitting head of state by the war crimes tribunal.
I hope you’ll tune in to see the interview.
As the International Criminal Court issues a landmark warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir over war crimes in Darfur, CNN's Nic Robertson interviews a man who was told to rape and kill children.
I wanted to believe the man in front of me wasn't a rapist. I knew he was a former Sudanese soldier, I knew he wanted to talk about rape in Darfur. A humanitarian group working on Darfur issues had introduced him to us. They told us his testimony was important to hear.
Last year in Darfur aid workers told me children as young as five were being raped in the huge displacement camps that are home to several million Darfuris. In some camps, they told me, rape had become so common that as many as 20 babies a month born from rape were being abandoned.
As I sat inches from Adam –not his real name - I feared the revulsion I knew I would feel at my own questions as I asked about rape and his involvement. I have interviewed rape survivors in Darfur. I have two daughters. I am a human being with a conscience. It would be hard to listen to his replies.
He told me he was conscripted by force in to the Sudanese army in the summer of 2002. He thought he was being taken for six months' national service and then would be released.
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
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.