Darfur's day in court
Posted by Suzanne Nossel
Today the International Criminal Court officially opened its investigation into war crimes in Darfur. This was made possible by the U.S.'s historic decision to abstain in a UN vote referring the Darfur killings and abuses to the tribunal. Now the question is whether the U.S. will cooperate with the ICC prosecutors in helping them build the case, or give succor to the Khartoum government which is trying to argue that the Court's involvement will undercut a "peace process" now underway. The Sudanese government also claims to be assembling its own local tribunals, an effort to push the ICC to the sidelines.
The U.S.'s abstention on the ICC referral was the camel's nose under the tent of an admission that as the world's most powerful democracy and best champion for the rule of law, the U.S. cannot afford to stand outside an international criminal court that's gradually building credibility. The court's not perfect, but ignoring it and hoping it will go away isn't the solution. Working with its members to remedy U.S. concerns is. Cooperation with the Darfur prosecution is a next step that the Administration can quietly take, consistent with its stance that what's happening in Darfur constitutes genocide. Let's hope Bush keeps moving forward on this.
For measures short of sending in U.S. combat troops to help stop the killings in Darfur read here (no, I don't believe and ICC investigation will do much to halt the slaughter and abuses).