Posts by: Alex DeWaal

President Bashir’s narrow escape from South Africa has shown that an executive decision by the African Union’s leaders, including the South African president, to refuse cooperation with the ICC, does not have legal force to override domestic law. It has shown that the ICC has no recourse if a government decides to ignore its obligations under the Rome Statute—only the domestic courts and authorities can enforce its decisions. It has embarrassed the African Union, which looks to be re-inventing itself as, in the words of the late Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere describing its predecessor the Organisation of African Unity, a “trade union of dictators”. Most international sympathies will lie with the ICC: it has scored a moral point. But only the former and current staff of the office of the prosecutor, and others who followed the Bashir case closely, will be aware that the Sudanese president’s unseemly escape from South Africa also saved the ICC itself from what could have been severe embarrassment.

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Under the Obama Administration, foreign policy has been driven by national security and concern over domestic opinion polls. Humanitarian issues, democratization, development, and resolving armed conflicts get on the agenda only when the Pentagon and CIA have had their say. That is glaringly obvious in Africa and the Middle East. You more than anyone should know that a security policy that relies overwhelmingly on military and intelligence instruments and has no wider economic and political strategy is doomed to fail, and to wreak havoc in doing so.

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We are starting a project that will document the patterns of famines and episodes of mass starvation over history, including their causes, locations, and best estimates for the numbers of people who died. Remarkably, this does not appear to have been done before in a systematic manner. Our aim is to bring together evidence for major famines and instances of deliberate mass starvation (related to war and genocide).

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The salience of politicized religion over the last thirty years, especially across the Greater Middle East and among Muslims in Europe, has not been matched by a comparable articulation of an alternative secularism—or secularisms. A notable exception is in France, where the concept and political program has been strongly espoused, most loudly so in the […]

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The eighth and final episode in the comic illustration of South Sudan’s predicament, with art by Victor Ndula and text by Alex de Waal. Sponsored by the Cartoon Movement, JSRP, and World Peace Foundation.

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Episode seven in the eight part comic illustration of South Sudan’s predicament, with art by Victor Ndula and text by Alex de Waal. Sponsored by the Cartoon Movement, JSRP, and World Peace Foundation.

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