Genocidal and Cynical Sudan

The Special Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has gathered strong evidence showing that Ahmad Muhammad Harun, former Minister of State for the Interior of the Government of the Sudan, and Ali Kushayb, a leader of the Militia/Janjaweed, jointly committed crimes against the civilian population in Darfur. According to the evidence collected by the ICC over 20 month period the ICC special prosecutor’s office believes that

“there are reasonable grounds to believe that Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb, (also known as Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman) bear criminal responsibility in relation to 51 counts of alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes. The evidence shows they acted together, and with others, with the common purpose of carrying out attacks against the civilian populations. The crimes were allegedly committed during attacks on the villages and towns of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, and Arawala in West Darfur between August 2003 and March 2004. The Prosecution has focused on some of the most serious incidents and the individuals who, according to the evidence, bear the greatest responsibility for those incidents. In early 2003, Ahmad Harun was appointed as head of the “Darfur Security desk”. The most prominent of his coordination tasks was his management of, and personal participation in, the recruitment, funding and arming of Militia/Janjaweed – forces that would ultimately number in the tens of thousands. During a public meeting, Ahmad Harun said that as the head of the “Darfur Security desk”, he had been given “all the power and authority to kill or forgive whoever in Darfur for the sake of peace and security.”

In an extraordinarily cynical move, the Sudanese government has appointed the genocidal Ahmad Muhammad Harun to form its own Human Rights Committee to investigate human rights violations in Darfur. This clearly demonstrates that the Sudanese government has no desire to address the barbaric tragedy in Darfur or any interest in bringing the perpetrators to justice. As the NY Times Editorial correctly points out, the actions of the Sudanese governments need to be strongly condemned by the United States and the United Nations. The INTERPOL has a search warrant out for Ahmad Muhammad Harun and we sincerely hope they get him.

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The Israeli Wall, International Court of Justice, UN and International Law

UN and International Law Students

Here is my quick summary of the situation regarding Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory  (Request for advisory opinion) Summary of the Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004. It is within the legal right of the United Nations to make such a request to the ICJ and it is within the jurisdiction of the ICJ to answer the question. The ICJ is set-up to answer such questions.  Now, here are my quick summary points to as a response to the discussions in class.

The question: “What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?”

1) This request for advisory opinion was indeed supported by written petitions submitted by 70-80 countries.

2) Yes, the UN is an International Organization (IO) that is legally authorized to make such entreaties before the ICJ. In other words, the UN enjoys the same legal status as a “STATE” under international law for the purposes of international transactions.

3) States, only states or other such IO’s that have the legal standing of a STATE can only appear in front of the ICJ.

4) NO, Taiwan is not a State, NO the PLO or the PA (Palestinian Authority is not a state), but Yes, both the PA and the Holy SEE (the Vatican) have special observer status within the UN.

5) The question of legality of the Wall was presented by a special committee of the UNGA to the ICJ to simply examine whether it is legal for the Israel to construct a permanent barrier through “occupied territories,” thereby solidifying or consolidating their legal claim over a disputed territory.

6) Also please note, that the portion is indeed disputed, which Israel got hold of during the 1967 Arab-Israeli Conflict.¬† So, as the Court points out as per the provisions of International Law it is within the right of the Court to refer to it as “Occupied Territory” of the Palestine mandate, which prior to the Israeli takeover was nominally under the control of the Ottoman Empire and Trans-Jordan. However, the politics of the Arab-Israeli conflict are highly self-evident in this posing of the question. Off course, it goes without saying that the Arab-Israeli conflict is one of the most contentious issues that the world has witnessed in after the end of the Second World War.

More on this topic as the semester progresses.