Debunking myth of swapping the ICC Jurisdiction in Darfur for South Africa CODESA
By Mahmoud A. Suleiman
It is extremely imperative to frown and expose the myth of swapping the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the Darfur issue with the way former South African white minority regime dealt with the issue of South African people to end the apartheid era. Apparently, the myth has been proposed by some political opposition factions for appeasing the National Congress Party (NCP) regime’s President Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir to give some concessions to his political opponents in the way of bringing political reforms.
The regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) stood steadfast and became a stumbling block over its lean 26 years of rule against all the plans put forward by the Sudanese political opposition to solve the country’s crises. Moreover, the regime also vandalized the efforts in the way leading to credible national dialogue. Al-Bashir instead resorted to the formation of the proxy cloned Janjaweed militias, the Rapid Support Force (RSF) to liquidate and annihilate the armed rebel opposition and imprisoning the leaders of the civilian opposition. Some opposition political party leaders started waving a ‘new’ proposal to gain the mind of the mindless and the heart of the heartless wooing the opinion of the callous regime perhaps they may succeed in appeasing al-Bashir with a view to obtain some political concessions from him.
The opposition parties in question began proposing unabatedly the so-called the Convention for Democratic South Africa (CODESA), the tool through which the disenfranchised South Africans negotiated with the apartheid White Supremacy regime led by P. W. Botha and F.W. de Klerk, that started on 20 December 1991. The satirist columnists wrote saying that the nostalgia of the veteran politicians for the Governance Chair they occupied in the past and now they have lost perhaps behind the proposal referred to above! But whatever the motivation behind the proposal, the owners of the original Darfur cause are not expected to comply with the sterile political debate about the central issue for which they have lost souls of kin and kith , land, property and became permanent residents in displacement and asylum camps and in the middle of nowhere in the Diaspora. Furthermore, the survivors of the crimes of genocide residing in the makeshift camps become prey to disease, poverty, hunger and deprivation of education for young persons and an easy soft target to the ruling regime militias and bandits. This state of affairs continued 12 years on despite the presence of the joint peace keeping mission of the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU), the (UNAMID) which is considered as a something better than nothing. As for the NCP regime, grip on power and clinging on it, as a guarantee for survival at the helm and protection for al-Bashir against apprehension by the ICC remains top priority. The Wathba National Dialogue announced by al-Bashir in January 2014 continued as a PR exercise and a red herring and nothing more. The NCP regime is unlikely to return to the right path.
The ruling regime of the (NCP) subjected the people of Darfur to all kinds of reprehensible atrocious crimes of genocide, 13 years on. The Génocidaire fugitive from the international justice Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir is responsible for all the crimes. On the contrary, the people of the region did not so far get anything tangible in lieu of living in desperation other than the tireless endeavor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) of indicting the perpetrators of the crimes and issuing arrest warrants. However, we have been hearing of some elements among the Sudanese opposition started, unashamedly, calling for swapping the (ICC) jurisdiction in Darfur with the former Apartheid South African jurisdiction of the CODESA with a view to appease Omer al-Bashir and making him offer concessions for political reforms. The proposal have been put forward by the components of the Sudanese opposition as an antidote and a recipe for resolving the Crises of the country which have eluded all kinds of solutions in view of the regime’s lack of will and lack of ability, intransigence and tactical maneuvering.
The UN can suspend the ICC jurisdiction in a case for a year using the Rome Statute article 16 https://www.hrw.org/news/2008/08/15/article-16
On July 14, 2008, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested an arrest warrant for Sudan President Omar al-Bashir on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes for orchestrating the abusive counterinsurgency campaign in Sudan’s Darfur region. The government of Sudan has sought to block the issuance of an arrest warrant against al-Bashir by convincing African states on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to seek a delay at the International Criminal Court. The African Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference have asked the Security Council to defer ICC proceedings for twelve months. The Rome Statute establishing the ICC contains a provision, article 16, that allows the UN Security Council to pass a resolution (under its Chapter VII authority) to defer an ICC investigation or prosecution for a renewable period of 12 months.
But “No investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded with under this Statute for a period of 12 months after the Security Council, in a resolution adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, has requested the Court to that effect; that request may be renewed by the Council under the same conditions.”
Chapter VII of the UN Charter empowers the UN Security Council (UNSC) to take measures to “maintain or restore international peace and security” if it has determined “the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of peace or act of aggression.” The UNSC did not use Article 16 with the intent for use in other than exceptional circumstances.
The only gain obtained by the victims and the survivors of the genocide in region of Darfur is moving the authority of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to condemn and prosecute to apprehend the perpetrators of those heinous crimes. Among the top perpetrators of the crime referred to is Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir and his entourage of Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein, Ahmed Haroun and others.
The proposal to suspend the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for achieving justice for victims and survivors of crimes of genocide in Darfur is a denial of justice at best and a travesty of justice at worst.
Transitional justice is the path taken by the people of South Africa at a time when the Rome Statute has not existed to create the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the crime of genocide did not occur in the apartheid state at the time.
So any talk about the application of the apartheid South African experience in the crimes perpetrated by Omar al-Bashir and his entourage is nothing but a escape from the reality and compounding the state of injustice against the people of Darfur region who are still languishing under the genocide and displacement and mass rape of women and young girls.
The proposal prejudices against the legal principle of justice based on the investigation of crimes and punishing the perpetrators and restitution of justice for the victims and those affected by the crimes committed by the regime led by Omar al-Bashir.
Those who proposed the resorting to the so-called CODESA, used in 1992 for the perpetrators of crimes in the State of apartheid in South Africa swapped and applied for the trial of the perpetrators of crimes in the case of Darfur would clearly prejudice against the rights of the victims and survivors. Clearly, the owners of the proposal and their families and close relatives in Khartoum have not been exposed to the horrors that suffered by the unarmed noncombatant citizens in Darfur. At the time, the official army of the Government of Sudan (GoS), the Sudan Armed Farce (SAF) and the allied militia gangs on the orders of the Supreme Commander Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir committed the most heinous crimes in Darfur. The popular saying goes the skin that is not yours drag thorns on it, so to speak. Moreover, another popular adage goes the fire burns only the foot that set on it!
That promises of Omar al-Bashir of national dialogue is a red herring and nothing more. The Sudanese people and the serious opposition both civilian and armed should not be relying upon neither the AU locomotive Thabo Mbeki who has become part of the problem nor the divided international community which is guided by the interests intersecting with the survival of the (NCP) regime. AU suffers from conflict of interests in its approach for dealing with the Sudanese crises especially in relation to the Darfur issue when it comes to the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment of the perpetrators of the heinous crimes committed against the civilian population of the region stricken and stuck in the mud. Those are the core facts that must be taken into account by the components of the Sudanese opposition as a priority in their struggle in the coming days.
To forgive the perpetrators of those heinous crimes against the Darfur civilians through taking the CODESA route instead of the ICC indictment course is an outright betrayal of justice and deprivation of people of their legitimate rights and rewarding criminals at best and reinforcing and condoning human rights violations at worst. Furthermore, it needs to be taken into account that the people of the region stuck in the mud in Darfur are not naive to the degree and the way that some of the politicians who launched their goals in support the agenda of the ruling regime of the Fascist National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum think. Their vigilant acumen makes them aware of their legitimate legal rights.
More than a decade of experience of suffering gave the people of Darfur sufficient knowledge to fight for the restoration of justice and achieve victory against the criminals who unfairly looted their rights through committing crimes and manipulating the humanitarian law to escape accountability.
The legitimate legal rights do not fall off by the passage of time, their longevity. Without a shadow of doubt and a caveat is included, that longevity is not a reason for loss of legitimate legal rights. Moreover, the evil plot engulfs none but its own people who make it.
Those political parties who in one way or another aligned to the NCP regime are treating the cause of the people of Darfur with extreme unfairness and travesty of justice.
People’ legitimate rights take primacy and stay on. Moreover, the CODESA gate proposal needs considering it as a void, which intended to do something void to the extreme. Once again, it is a red herring and nothing more! It is a ploy meant to deceive.
Those who try haggle the cause of the people of Darfur should know that it is an issue made through payment of a high price in blood and sacrifice of lives and selves. The ultimate price for it and cannot be offered for sale in the slave trade market for rescuing the criminal genocide the fugitive from international justice Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir who keeps unabatedly preying on the survivors of his previous crimes.
Al-Bashir’s commanded army still carries on throwing incendiary barrels bombs on board Russian Antonov bomber planes without discrimination to kill humans and animals and the destruction, poisoning of water sources, livestock grazing lands, and burning of villages in Darfur.
In the midst of this tragedy of the furnace of the civil wars of attrition waged by the Army of Omar, al-Bashir and his militia and his mercenaries the survivors are forced to flee their burnt homes into the middle of nowhere. They chose wherever thought as a safe haven in the displacement and refugee camps. However, few of them risked their lives again seek asylum in the Diaspora with adventure of unknown consequences across the Mediterranean Sea at the mercy of ruthless smugglers and human traffickers board of worn out boats prone to sinking flying from Libya bound for the shores of Europe.
Does it make sense and possible that the survivors of Omer al-Bashir’s Holocaust in Darfur accept to swap the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction with the former White Supremacy apartheid South African tool of negotiations between the disenfranchised South Africans and the F.W. de Klerk regime, the so-called Convention for Democracy South Africa (CODESA)?. There are no two goats butting each other over a dispute about the unreasonableness of this matter, so to speak.
The regime of Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and abducted people and turned them into hostages through the dictatorship which robbed the legitimate rights of citizenship such as human rights, freedoms and the right of livelihood, living in sustainable peace and safety and keeping in dignity.
The appropriate place for Omar al-Bashir and his criminal clique in these circumstances is to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague in the Netherlands to receive their reward because of the reprehensible crimes they committed against the people of Darfur.
In today’ Sudan there is no room for the mass and blanket pardon, which the folks of the homeland accustomed to bestow executioners under the principle of let bygones be bygones in eras before the ill-fated coming of the gang wrapped in an Islamism gown under sheer hypocrisy, fraud, corruption, nepotism , racism and perpetration of crimes of genocide. The fact of the matter is that the NCP regime cliques do not know their arse from their elbow, if the honorable reader will pardon the expression.
Worse, is that the members of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) which formed the ruling regime of the (NIF/NCP/ PCP/Ilk) led by Omar al-Bashir do not learn from experiences to take lessons. They are just like the Bourbon dynasty or family in France who failed learning from the experiences and fell in the evil of their deeds repeatedly. The brother of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) has been quoted as saying that the foregoing statement.
It seems that those proposed group of opposition in order to get some political concessions from Omer al-Bashir, but the cause of the people of Darfur is not for sale at bargain cheap slave trade market.
In these bad living conditions passing on the citizens of Sudan in Darfur and in other war zones in the country, there is no any solution to the suffering of the people but change of the (NCP) regime led by criminal genocide fugitive from international justice Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir and his entourage. The Sudanese people do not expect any change in the homeland but overthrowing the regime. The people of Sudan can only bring about regime change by the use of all the means available. There is need for solidarity of efforts of the Sudanese political opposition both civil and armed. The latter led by the Sudanese revolutionary Front (SRF), civil society organizations, Labour trade unions, professional associations, youth groups and women’s organizations and patriots from the Sudanese Armed forces (SAF).
Martin Luther King, Jr, the American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement said that the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.
Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is an author, columnist and a blogger. His blog is https://thussudan.wordpress.com/