Monday, November 17, 2008

Avoiding Warrants from the International Criminal Court

Wish it were the war criminals in the White House that had those warrants out, but this time it's about Sudan's al-Beshir. Having been the object of warrants for prosecution for his violations of international law and of Sudan's laws, the president of that country is making no pretense of avoiding the results of his crimes.

Today, the arrest of journalists made another scar on the face of justice in Sudan. Violations of the rights of Sudan citizens is par for the course in al-Beshir's career.

Sudan's parliament on Monday approved an independent electoral commission in a crucial step towards free elections due next year that was immediately overshadowed by a mass arrest of journalists.

The line-up of the nine-member commission, appointed by the presidency and submitted to parliament for approval, was passed by 298 votes to 12 objections more than three months behind schedule, said an AFP reporter.

The names were drawn up by the three-man Sudanese presidency, head of state Omar al-Beshir, First Vice President and leader of the semi-autonomous south Salva Kiir, and Vice President Ali Osman Taha, after lengthy disagreement.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed by north and south after a two-decade civil war, calls for elections no later than 2009 as part of a democratic transition, but myriad parts of the accord have hit major delays.

Just minutes after the parliamentary vote, police arrested more than 60 journalists protesting against the censorship which flouts the freedom of expression enshrined in Sudan's interim constitution.
Both north and south approve the new electoral commission chairman, Abel Alier, a former vice president of Sudan under Jaafar Nimeiri, who ruled the country from 1969 to 1985, and a lawyer from the dominant southern Dinka tribe.

His deputy, Abdallah Ahmed Abdallah, is a professor of agriculture from Khartoum University who was also a regional governor under Nimeiri.

The commission will be tasked with making all the provisions and setting a date for elections despite growing fears that polls will be delayed.

For the last eight years, the U.S. has done nothing to bring this criminal under the court's jurisdiction, or to stop the atrocities his regime has committed.

The soft spot the U.S. war criminals have for their counterparts has not gone unnoticed. Immense improvement is foreseen for this country when the executive branch is cleansed of criminal elements that have ruled there during the right wing hold on our highest offices.

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