Security Council May Quash ICC Prosecution of Al-Bashir

The Guardian is reporting today that the UK, France, China and Russia will be asking the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution blocking the International Criminal Court from continuing the effort to prosecute Sudanese President al-Bashir for Genocide in Darfur.  See:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/14/sudan.humanrights

The United States has not yet decided whether to support such a resolution, and as a Permanent Member of the Council (and the first country to label the situation in Darfur as genocide) it could exercise its veto, thereby allowing the International Criminal Court arrest warrant to issue without political interference.

It will be absolutely tragic if the United States and the other members of the Security Council give in to al-Bashir’s blackmail, adopting a resolution ordering the ICC to defer its prosecution of the indicted genocidaire and war criminal in return for his pledge to cooperate with the UN and OAU.  If history has taught us anything, it is that the international community cannot rely on indicted war criminals to serve as reliable guarantors of peace.  Like Slobodan Milosevic, Radavan Karadzic, and Charles Taylor, al-Bashir cannot be trusted to follow through with his pledges of cooperation.  Al-Bashir has and will continue to direct a genocidal policy while under  the pretense of cooperation.  Nothing will actually be gained by quashing the ICC indictment, and so much will be lost.

A Security Council resolution ordering the ICC to defer its prosecution of al-Bashir would be a serious blow to the  credibility and legitimacy of the ICC and the growing trend toward international accountability.  It will return the world to a cynical age in which future warlords, parroting Hitler’s  infamous words about the Armenians, will be able to say to their followers, “Who after all today remembers the fate of the Darfurians.”