Darfur Mission Is Extended as U.S. Abstains,
Indictment of Bashir Denounced by China and "Majority"
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
July 31/August 1 -- The joint
African Union - UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur UNAMID had its
less than two hours remaining, after the voting was delayed for
more than six hours by demands for changes by the U.S., which ended up
abstaining. At issue was a paragraph "taking note of the African Union
communique" which called for suspension of the International Criminal
Court indictment of Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir. The U.S. wanted
reference removed, saying it would send the wrong message to Bashir.
the UK and France, even Croatia and Costa Rica, voted for the
the paragraph in. Does this mean that the U.S. is more committed that
other countries to the cause of international criminal justice, even to
vote kept being put off, questions mounted about why the U.S. had let
get this far, to a finalized draft, hours before the mandate expired,
having even one other country supporting its position. Ironically, some
compared it to the vote
earlier in the month on imposing sanctions on Robert
Mugabe's Zimbabwe, in which the U.S. among others thought,
Russia's seemingly pro-sanctions statement at the G-8 meeting in Japan,
would be left standing alone as the only veto-wielding member with
thus might abstain. On that vote, Russia joined China in a rare
three others voted no, and one abstained. Here, it was the U.S. which
isolated as it were, with no other country with it.
explanations of vote were still ongoing in the Council chamber, Inner
Press asked Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangwa if and when China will move
Council for a resolution seeking to suspend prosecution against Al
Article 16 of the ICC's Rome Statute. "We do hope that in the next
weeks all the interested parties should get together," Amb. Wang said.
Press asked, since the U.S. abstained even from mentioning suspension,
it was possible they would vote to suspend. "Differing members have
different interpretations," Amb. Wang said, but "in the Security
council all council member, particularly the permanent members, we must
our political responsibility." Some thought he meant that the public
of U.S. -- and others that will ultimate vote with it -- amounts to
grandstanding that makes achieving a peace deal in Sudan more difficult.
is that since Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has not yet succeed in
through the ICC a single defendant, he was arrogant to indict Sudan's
at this time. Supporters of the ICC won't say it, because that would be
as undermining the ICC. But perhaps it is Moreno-Ocampo himself who is,
instance, undermining the ICC.
Press asked Amb. John Sawers of the UK what he thought of Russia's and
argument that two thirds of the member states of the UN support the
that the indictment should be suspended. Amb. Sawers responded, in
that on other issues he doesn't see them citing to the views of the
UNAMID vehicle, mandate extension rift not shown
French mission did not speak to the press at the stakeout on Thursday
-- France's explanation after the vote was delivered in the Chamber by
mission's political counsellor Nicolas de Riviere -- a statement was
attributed to Deputy Permanent Representative Jean-Pierre Lacroix, that
the AU request regarding the ICC prosecutor's recommendations, we do
that the current situation regarding Khartoum's cooperation on all
warrants taking action at the Council at this stage."
This echoed a statement made earlier in the
month by Permanent Representative Jean-Maurice Ripert, that if
were to turn over the indictee Ali Kushayb and Ahmad Harun, it might be
in terms of his own indictment. It must
be noted, however, that Moreno-Ocampo has charged Bashir with far more
non-cooperation. Absent a Council resolution, it is hard to see how the
process would stop.
Press asked U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative Alejandro Wolff to
statement that the construction of infrastructure for peacekeepers in
must speed up, in light of the UN report that the no-bid contractor
Martin, a U.S.-based firm, has under-performed in Darfur. We are all to
Amb. Wolff said, listing the UN, the international community and
"especially" Sudan. He did not list Lockheed Martin, although the
UN's report did. Will Lockheed be returning some of the money? We will
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