The Indictment of a Sitting Head of State by an International Court Risks Prolonging Violent Conflict- the Case of Sudan
18 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2011 Last revised: 1 Aug 2011
Date Written: April 10, 2010
The indictment and issuance of warrants of arrest of President Omar Al Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the was a milestone by March 3, 2009 the court in asserting the irrelevance of official capacity as affirmed by article 27 or the Rome statute but a unique feature here was that, Sudan is a fragile nation state in conflict with three ongoing peace process, a humanitarian crisis affecting over 4.5 million people displaced and living in makeshift camps . While the ICC action was hailed as an assertion to address impunity, a dilemma and tension emerged following the belligerence exhibited by the Sudan government which included expulsion of Humanitarian agencies working in Dafur, Banning of Local Non Governmental Organisations NGO’s and mobilisation of support by Sudan to the Arab League and African Union which has resulted in attempts aimed at watering down the jurisdictions of the court. Furthermore the arguments are abound that the ICC involvement may adversely affect the prospects for peace, while in the converse it is argued that the ICC led process may act as a material incentive for parties to negotiate peace. this essay opines that there is no scientific formulae to balance peace versus justice and that the ICC must ensure its mandate is not watered down, in the name of giving peace a chance on the alter of justice.
This essay seeks to provide a general overview of the present situation in Sudan while interrogating the subsisting dilemma and tension between peace and justice following the ICC involvement, the National, regional and international dynamics in play, while arguing that the ICC involvement has acted as a catalyst for peace and presents an opportunity for re-engineering of leadership in Sudan without adversely affecting the prospects of peace.
Keywords: International Criminal Justice, Conflict, Sitting head of state, Indictment, International Criminal Court
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