In an unprecedented July move, the ICC charged Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, with genocide and crimes against humanity in relation to the murder of approximately 300,000 Darfurians. This move was praised by many around the world for its commitment to bringing an end to the Darfurian crisis and the continued murder of innocent Black Africans.
Source: MSNBC Online
Unfortunately, Nigeria is now leading the charge to stop the International Criminal Court's (ICC) case against al-Bashir. This information was announced by the African Union (AU) Chairman and Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete, at a joint conference held in Sudan and al-Bashir was present.
In its review of the conference and announcement, The Nation a Kenyan newspaper distributed in Nairobi, noted,
President Kikwete affirmed that the AU and UN will work with the government of Sudan to realise peace and justice in Darfur and to handle the humanitarian crisis in the region.
President Kikwete expressed his appreciation for the commitment made by Sudan and President al-Bashir personally to endeavour to solve the issue of Darfur, stressing that the UN does not undermine the importance of justice in Darfur and that the AU believes that it's an important issue, but priority should be given to peace, humanitarian issues, protection of lives and alleviation of suffering in the western Sudan region. [sic]
What is disappointing is the realization that once again, the AU did not consider the ICC case against al-Bashir an opportunity to be used to the advantage of its reputation, the reputation of African leaders and the benefit of the victims of genocide in Darfur. Instead of announcing to the world that the AU will use its UN votes and influence (in conjunction with the Arab League) to prevent the ICC case from going forward, Kikwete and the other powers that be should have forced al-Bashir to take specific and obvious steps towards peace in Darfur.
Why did the Sudanese government not announce that it had enforced a cease fire with the government-backed Janjaweed militants? Or, that the Janjaweed had turned in their weapons? Or, that plans were in the process to return Darfurians from refugee camps to their destroyed towns and villages so they could rebuild and start the semblance of a normal life? Instead of concrete plans on how to end the genocide and bring about a peaceful future, the AU, al-Bashir and Nigeria have once again failed the people.
ALTERNATIVE MEASURES NIGERIA SHOULD HAVE TAKEN
What is further disappointing, and actually embarrassing, is that Yar'Adua, Nigeria's President, has apparently given permission to Nigeria's Ambassador to the United Nations to work with the AU to achieve its announced objective of supporting al-Bashir. This despite the fact that Yar'Adua criticized Mugabe recently and has repeated, ad nauseam, his commitment to the "rule of law". How does this move, which was not even mentioned to the Nigerian press and people by the Nigerian government mesh with Yar'Adua's "rule of law" mantra? If the ICC, a court of grand esteem that has even seated Nigerian judges as well as other well-respected judges and justices from around the world, determines that there is enough evidence to charge al-Bashir while he is a seating President, why did Yar'Adua not apply his same 'hands off' policy? Why commit Nigeria to interfering with the international legal process when he hardly did that much with regard to the ICC required-Nigerian Supreme Court- and National Assembly condemning handover of the Bakasi region to Cameroon?
AND, DON'T FORGET THE YAR'ADUA SPECIFIC ISSUE
It is simply disgraceful that Nigeria is not consistent with regard to its supposed commitment to the "rule of law", democracy and peace on the African continent. But, considering the instability within the nation and the lack of transparency on the condition of the President, how can anyone expect that, at this time, Nigeria will stand up and do what is right at home and abroad?
God bless Nigeria and all of her people. May they, and all Africans, realize that they alone can require their 'leader' to do better. If not, things will never change.
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