Wednesday, July 16, 2008

High Crimes

A great leap forward in international criminal law: Omar Bashir, President of Sudan, has become the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the International Criminal Court.

At the Jurist, law professor Michael Kelly explains why this step constitutes one more helpful chink in the armor of sovereign immunity... but he also explains why Bashir is unlikely to be apprehended anytime soon.

In other words, a great leap forward for international law (as a set of rules) does not necessarily translate into a political or legal victory in practical terms. Quite the contrary, in some cases.

For this reason, the Wall Street Journal joins China in opposing the action - but for different reasons. China seeks to protect the sovereign right of governments to do as they damn well please. The WSJ bloggers recall how international judicial mechanisms served as a substitute, during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, for military action which could have stopped the bloodshed.

But a non-state actor (this time not a corporation but rather the human rights organization Avaaz) has an idea:

"Al Bashir knows that he will be caught only if other governments, especially Arab and African governments, agree to help the International Criminal Court. To make sure this happens, Avaaz is launching a large regional ad campaign, urging the leaders of these nations to save Darfur by helping the ICC."
Click here to donate.

Unsurprisingly, so far African nations are looking askance at the move. Will an ad campaign change their minds? Stay tuned.

1 comment:

JSN said...

This is all a scam to get President Bush to support the move, then they plan to indict him.

I hope it works.

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