The International Criminal Court just announced that it will reach a decision on whether or not to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al Bashir next Wednesday, March 4. Chances are the court will issue the arrest warrant. So why make the date public? The court says it is doing so out of concern of rumors (promulgated by the New York Times) that a decision has already been made to issue the arrest warrant. The court denies that this is the case.
Now that the court has set a firm date, look out for reprisals on internationals in Darfur. The Sudanese government is widely expected to disrupt on-going UN humanitarian and peacekeeping work Darfur in response to the arrest warrant. Those of us who have been championing ICC action in Darfur should understand that the pursuit of justice may come at the expense of near-term humanitarian concerns. That said, over the long run the court can be a useful tool and help create the conditions in which a lasting peace can take hold.