The ICC Also Dodged a Bullet

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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Moreno Ocampo: Ma’aliya are Janjaweed

I asked Moreno Ocampo for clarification as to whether the Ma’aliya were indeed Janjaweed. He didn’t duck the question or say that his memory on this detail might have failed him. Rather, he insisted that yes they were Janjawiid and he had the evidence. When I pointed out that no literature on Darfur had ever, anywhere, made this claim, he dug his heels in and insisted that the details were confidential.

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And does History Continue to Rhyme?

The legal truth seeking by courageous Guatemalans will continue, even if the Constitutional Court annuls the trial to date and returns it to a previous stage with a new judge who, in the past, has institutionalised impunity through a series of questionable rulings. This ongoing process is essential to prevent genocidal history from repeating itself or, in fact, from rhyming and places at the centre of the debate the question as to whether, at least in the minds of the victims, the genocide and its enduring impact have indeed ever ended.

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