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.”
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.