by Upul Joseph Fernando
UN Organization sources say that there are a number of similarities between the report of the panel appointed by Ban Ki-moon to investigate war crime charges in Sudan where there was a conflict, and that of the panel of experts on war crimes pertaining to Sri Lanka (SL) . The UN report on the war crime charges against Sudan was released in November 2009. Sudans Ambassador to the UN Abdel Mahmoud reacted angrily to the panel’s report saying , ‘ Khartoum will demand that the Security Council terminates the panel’s mandate. They are just representatives of Western Intelligence agencies’. He told Reuters, ‘we are fed up with this Committee .Our position is a total rejection of this report
Sudan too like the SL Govt. reposed immense confidence in Russia and China at the UN security council: China was taking 10 per cent of its oil requirements from Sudan. Besides, China was the largest supplier of arms to Sudan, and the leading foreign investor with annual trade value of roughly one billion dollars. Russia also had modest weapon sales and oil deals with Sudan. Russian Companies are even sub- contractors to the Chinese - the pipeline that will be built by Russians will be built out of Chinese money.
Sudan therefore anticipated Russia and China to oppose any proposals brought to the UN security Council to impose sanctions against it. When a resolution to impose sanctions on Sudan was once brought before the UN security Council, Russia delivered 12 MiG 29 jet fighters to Sudan. ‘Russia is against sanctions primarily because those sanctions make some people happy, and they hurt Russian trade’ , a Russian military expert declared.
Russia and China always insisted that, as there was a peace process in progress in Sudan, sanctions will militate against the peace process, while also adding that the UN must contribute towards reconciliation within the country rather than obstructing it. Yet, in 2006 when the Security Council imposed financial and travel sanctions on Sudan - Russia and China instead of using their veto powers only abstained from voting. Consequently, the resolution was passed. Even when resolutions were brought against Libya - Russia and China just abstained allowing the resolutions to be passed.
This was not what Sudans President Omar Al Bashir expected. His hopes to teach a lesson or two to the Western countries including America by enlisting Russia, China and Arab countries (the Arab league) began to wane only from that point of time. He carried on a one party rule after jailing the country’s opposition leaders, stifling and suppressing the media, and driving out the foreign NGOs. In 2010, he contested the Presidential elections and won polling 68 per cent of the votes amidst allegations of the International community that the elections were corrupt and ridden with malpractices, frauds and vote ‘plundering’.
When the International community began sidelining Sudan, sanctions were imposed on it and an international arrest warrant was issued by the Int. Criminal court (ICC) against him in 2009, Bashir loudly proclaimed that 68 per cent of his people are with him .
Bashir won the Presidential election on 15th April 2010, but on 12th July 2010, an arrest warrant was issued against him based on genocide charges by the ICC. This was apart from the warrant issued for his arrest in 2009. Interestingly, such a warrant was issued while Rome treaty was not yet ratified although Sudan had joined it and was a signatory to the Rome statute governed by the ICC . Incidentally, SL has not signed the Rome treaty. When the ICC was on the trail of Sudan’s President, the latter hired a British Lawyer to advise them on setting up some type of internal procedure of investigation to satisfy the International community. But that did not bear him fruit as the ICC issued an arrest warrant against him.
Sudans President similarly made attempts to lobby the Non aligned movement (NAM) countries to halt the UN from proceeding with the war crime investigations. But that also failed. In the end , the Sudanese President who went into hiding in fear of the ICC arrest warrant had to yield to the intense pressures brought to bear on him by the Western countries including America. Finally, he had to hold a fair and free people’s referendum in respect of South Sudan where the conflict was raging.
At the people’s referendum, the South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence from Sudan. The region is set to become independent on 9th July 2011. Some interpret the report of the panel appointed by Ban ki Moon to investigate SL war crimes as akin to an attempt to draw a parallel between SL and Sudan.
It is however impossible to think that this view is correct. In all probability India will never allow that to happen. India is now in the Security Council , and America has as a matter of policy declared it will never allow SL to be divided. Hence the SL Govt. ought to take precautions against following the tactics of Sudan in respect of the UN report. Sudan is more important than SL to Russia and China. Yet, they permitted America to do what it wished against Sudan.
In the circumstances ,it is well for the SL Govt. to bear these facts in mind and avert the disaster that can result by lobbying the NAM countries , enlisting the support of Russia and China , paying heed to the advice of British PR Firms , deluding the International community and colliding with the Western countries including America .
It should on the contrary, win over the Western countries including America via India and defeat the war crime charges ~ courtesy: Daily Mirror ~