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No, YOU’RE Indicted!

abdel-mahmood mohamed.jpg

What do you do if two of your countrymen — including one high-ranking minister — have been indicted for war crimes by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court? Well, if you are the Sudanese Ambassador to the UN, you indict the Chief Prosecutor right back.

In a gesture that cannot help but be compared to the childhood retort of “I know you are, but what am I?” Abdel-Mahmood Mohamad has called for Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the man leading the nearly yearlong crusade to bring some of the perpetrators of the Darfur genocide to justice, to “be tried in court,” branding him “politically bankrupt” and “enemy number one of peace in Darfur.”

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The absurd contention that Moreno-Ocampo is obstructing peace in Darfur naturally turns the problem exactly on its head. Mohamed, perhaps taking a page out of Joseph Kony’s book, is appealing to the (misplaced) notion that, if the ICC prosecutions in Sudan were dropped, the Sudanese government would offer greater compliance. Mohamed’s bluster is simply the latest — and probably bluntest — example of Sudan’s hard-headed obstruction of the ICC’s work in Darfur.

Darfur is not Northern Uganda, where an actual peace accord will, it seems, finally be signed in the next couple of days. The ICC’s work in Darfur, then, must now be used as a stick to enforce compliance — as well as, of course, to ensure justice and accountability. With such outright defiance of the UN, Sudan’s leaders cannot simply claim, at this stage in the conflict, that the pursuit of justice is in any way undermining their none-too-credible support for peace.

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No, YOU’RE Indicted!

abdel-mahmood mohamed.jpg

What do you do if two of your countrymen — including one high-ranking minister — have been indicted for war crimes by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court? Well, if you are the Sudanese Ambassador to the UN, you indict the Chief Prosecutor right back.

In a gesture that cannot help but be compared to the childhood retort of “I know you are, but what am I?” Abdel-Mahmood Mohamad has called for Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the man leading the nearly yearlong crusade to bring some of the perpetrators of the Darfur genocide to justice, to “be tried in court,” branding him “politically bankrupt” and “enemy number one of peace in Darfur.”

moreno-ocampo.jpg

The absurd contention that Moreno-Ocampo is obstructing peace in Darfur naturally turns the problem exactly on its head. Mohamed, perhaps taking a page out of Joseph Kony’s book, is appealing to the (misplaced) notion that, if the ICC prosecutions in Sudan were dropped, the Sudanese government would offer greater compliance. Mohamed’s bluster is simply the latest — and probably bluntest — example of Sudan’s hard-headed obstruction of the ICC’s work in Darfur.

Darfur is not Northern Uganda, where an actual peace accord will, it seems, finally be signed in the next couple of days. The ICC’s work in Darfur, then, must now be used as a stick to enforce compliance — as well as, of course, to ensure justice and accountability. With such outright defiance of the UN, Sudan’s leaders cannot simply claim, at this stage in the conflict, that the pursuit of justice is in any way undermining their none-too-credible support for peace.

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Danger in Kenya

Jeffrey Gettleman brings breaking news of renewed rioting in Kenya.

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Riots erupted in Kenya on Tuesday as opposition leaders announced that they were suspending talks with the government over a stalled power sharing agreement.

According to witnesses, dozens of young men stormed into the streets of Kibera, a sprawling slum in the capital, Nairobi, lighting bonfires, ripping up railroad tracks and throwing rocks at police officers in a scene reminiscent of the violence that convulsed Kenya in the wake of the Dec. 27 election.

“No cabinet, no peace!” the protesters yelled, referring to the stillborn cabinet that has yet to be formed because of bitter divisions between the government and the opposition.

The spark behind the violence — the first such incident since Kofi Annan helped broker a shaky peace deal over a month ago — seems to be the question of assigning cabinet positions equitably between both sides. The elected president, Mwai Kibaki, is pushing for a larger cabinet, but is withholding the keys to the more powerful positions, such as the ministries of finance, foreign affairs, and internal security. The specific issue that plagued Annan’s mediations — the question of how much power to assign to the newly created position of prime minister, slated to go to opposition leader Raila Odinga — does not seem to have resurfaced yet, and, according to Gettleman, opposition leaders deny instigating the protests.

Assigning cabinet positions is no trivial matter, though, and opposition leaders will have to work together to come up with a proposal that reflects their parties’ near equal levels of support. A similar problem has persisted in Sudan, where one of the most frequently voiced complaints of previously marginalized Southerners is that, even with the signing of a major peace deal in January 2005, many of the most powerful ministries remain in the hands of Northern elites. Best for the international community to invest as much as it can in resolving this problem now, or else it will risk poisoning Kenya’s new government.

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Danger in Kenya

Jeffrey Gettleman brings breaking news of renewed rioting in Kenya.

Thumbnail image for 08kenya-600.jpg

Riots erupted in Kenya on Tuesday as opposition leaders announced that they were suspending talks with the government over a stalled power sharing agreement.

According to witnesses, dozens of young men stormed into the streets of Kibera, a sprawling slum in the capital, Nairobi, lighting bonfires, ripping up railroad tracks and throwing rocks at police officers in a scene reminiscent of the violence that convulsed Kenya in the wake of the Dec. 27 election.

“No cabinet, no peace!” the protesters yelled, referring to the stillborn cabinet that has yet to be formed because of bitter divisions between the government and the opposition.

The spark behind the violence — the first such incident since Kofi Annan helped broker a shaky peace deal over a month ago — seems to be the question of assigning cabinet positions equitably between both sides. The elected president, Mwai Kibaki, is pushing for a larger cabinet, but is withholding the keys to the more powerful positions, such as the ministries of finance, foreign affairs, and internal security. The specific issue that plagued Annan’s mediations — the question of how much power to assign to the newly created position of prime minister, slated to go to opposition leader Raila Odinga — does not seem to have resurfaced yet, and, according to Gettleman, opposition leaders deny instigating the protests.

Assigning cabinet positions is no trivial matter, though, and opposition leaders will have to work together to come up with a proposal that reflects their parties’ near equal levels of support. A similar problem has persisted in Sudan, where one of the most frequently voiced complaints of previously marginalized Southerners is that, even with the signing of a major peace deal in January 2005, many of the most powerful ministries remain in the hands of Northern elites. Best for the international community to invest as much as it can in resolving this problem now, or else it will risk poisoning Kenya’s new government.

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‘The Greatest Silence’ Premiering on HBO Tonight!

Be sure to catch the Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo which premiers tonight on HBO. To learn more about the crisis of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, visit the Enough Campaign and join a conference call about the film tomorrow night with the filmaker, Lisa Jackson; ENOUGH Co-chair John Prendergast; and the Director of Public Policy at the Family Violence Prevention Fund, Kiersten Stewart.

thegreatestsilence.jpg

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‘The Greatest Silence’ Premiering on HBO Tonight!

Be sure to catch the Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo which premiers tonight on HBO. To learn more about the crisis of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, visit the Enough Campaign and join a conference call about the film tomorrow night with the filmaker, Lisa Jackson; ENOUGH Co-chair John Prendergast; and the Director of Public Policy at the Family Violence Prevention Fund, Kiersten Stewart.

thegreatestsilence.jpg

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