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March 5, 2009 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

‘Orrible Omar’s awful hors d’oeuvres

Everyone seems to have forgotten about Darfur. It was the Rwanda of the naughties (and a bit before then). Even with the small amount of press thats been generated, the international news and academic focus has all been on Iraq, Afghanistan and Christopher Hitchen’s anti-fascist punch ups.

But things have still been developing in Darfur. Actually, quite a lot has been happening. The US have had non-military advisors in there for awhile, the African Union has tried to broker a peace to quell the violence, and the UN has even got its cosmopolitan hands dirty – through its  Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court.

Things have progressed to such a point that the ICC has recently issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. This is pretty extraordinary. He is the first sitting head of state to be called in front of the ICC. Naturally, he doesnt want to go. When asked about the issue at a recent opening of a Dam (complete with military forces, carnival atsmophere and confetti) he quite literally told the ICC to “eat” the arrest warrant. How very Bart Simpson of him.

In some respects, this is a good thing. Omar Hassan al-Bashir has been directly culpable for the crisis that existed in the region. But the ICC’s declaration is bound to ruffle a few very large feathers. The north and south have brokered a shaky peace deal – with support from China  (a country thats had an dubious relationship with the current Sudanese leadership, and has been accused of breaching weapons embargoes) so any moves to force the hand over of Omar Hassan al-Bashir will be difficult.

Keep your eye on ‘Orrible Omar, and how this all plays out. It could unfold as one of the first truly great ICC successes, or it could become just another example of a despotic politician who just wont go. Sigh.


About the Author ()

Conrad is a very grumpy boy. When he was little he had a curl in the middle of his forehead. When he was good, he was moderately good, but when he was mean he was HORRID. He likes guns, bombs and shooting doves. He can often be found reading books about Mussolini and tank warfare. His greatest dream is to invent an eighteen foot high mechanical spider, which has an antimatter lazer attached to its back.

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