Why Kenya chose to ignore warrants by ICC and sup with the devil
Posted Monday, September 6 2010 at 18:18
What's at stake
Refugees: When the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in Nairobi in 2005, the largest number of Southern Sudanese refugees was in East Africa. There were 212,857 of them in Uganda and 96,646 in Kenya. More than 320,000 refugees have returned to Southern Sudan.
Internal rebellion: A resumption of war in the South could potentially open the door for the LRA to return to 'base' as it were, enabling it to launch direct attacks into northern Uganda.
When Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir showed up in Nairobi on August 27 for the launch ceremony of Kenya’s new constitution, he became the Big Party Pooper.
By the end of the day, Bashir, who is currently under indictment for war crimes in the Darfur region of his country, had become as big a story as the celebrations themselves.
Human-rights organisations across the world berated the Kenya government for kicking international law in the teeth by inviting an indicted war criminal to Nairobi — and not arresting him.
Within days, the Bashir issue had created a new split between the Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement — the partners in the Kenyan coalition government — with the latter criticising the invitation and saying they were not consulted.
As the week dragged on, the government looked less isolated as the African Union strongly backed the decision to invite al-Bashir — albeit in an unsigned statement.
The AU argued that Kenya was respecting the organisation’s resolution obliging member states not to arrest or hand al-Bashir over to the International Criminal Court in part because the AU views the ICC as biased and aimed at hounding mostly African leaders.
Even Rwanda has joined the AU position and has supported the decision as something within Kenya’s sovereign right.
However, Bashir’s visit to Kenya represents something bigger than mere defiance on the part of the Sudanese strongman, nor is it just a calculated and cynical act of disregard for the ICC on the part of Nairobi.
It speaks to a much deeper and continuing rebellion in Africa against the dominant, largely Western, post-World War II international moral order.
More fundamentally, it seems to represent the growth of two movements: One that could end in institutions like the ICC, and indeed the UN, becoming largely irrelevant to Africa; a second that would end in a world governed by competing international regimes — one Western and “old world,” the other African-Asian-Middle Eastern-Latin American, representing a “new world” regime.
The irony of this is that the more recent roots of the East African variety lie in Darfur, the scene of Bashir’s crimes (although the real starting point is considered to be the failure of the international community to stop the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in which nearly one million people were slaughtered).
The response by the international community to protect the people of Darfur took too long, and when it did, it was too weak.
Since 2003, the regime in Khartoum has conducted systematic massacres in Darfur that continue to date.
Despite its protestations, Khartoum is widely seen as the prime mover behind the campaign of ethnic cleansing and the patron of the Janjaweed militias, which have done most of the killing and destruction in Darfur.
On six occasions, the government in Khartoum has undertaken to disarm the Janjaweed, but has little to show for it as the mayhem continues.