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ICC Prosecution of Bashir May Destroy Sudan, Says Former U.S. Special Envoy

July 14, 2008 (EIRNS)—Former U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios, in a web article today, wrote that the International Criminal Court's (ICC) prosecution of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, launched today, "may well shut off the last remaining hope for a peaceful settlement for the country. Without a political settlement, Sudan may go the way of Somalia, pre-genocide Rwanda, or the Democratic Republic of Congo: a real potential for widespread atrocities and bloodshed as those in power seek to keep it at any cost."

A source in the African diplomatic community in Washington told EIR today, with reference to the ICC action, "There are only two options for Sudan at this point: progress toward a political settlement, or else chaos, war, and a failed state."

The African Union has also spoken against the ICC. After a meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 11, the Council anticipated the prosecutor's action today by expressing its "strong conviction that the search for justice should be pursued in a way that does not impede or jeopardize efforts aimed at promoting lasting peace" in Sudan.

Lyndon LaRouche, in EIR (July 19, 2002, see article), wrote of the ICC, "The thing to be feared more than either war or crimes against humanity, is the establishment of an imperial form of 'world rule of law,' a form of law which, in practice, would condemn all mankind to the kind of horrors suffered under the Roman Empire and the ensuing Dark Age which that Empire brought down upon Europe and neighboring regions." These horrors are foreshadowed in the present case. Natsios, after lengthy discussion with Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo recently, reported that the ICC was indifferent to the fate of Sudan: "The view of the ICC tribunal is that they don't care. They said we are not interested in the diplomacy of this. It is none of our business. They said all we care about is that there should be no impunity," he said.

At the ICC, the next step is that a three-judge panel, which heard the case put forward by Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo, must now deliberate and decide whether the case is strong enough to justify issuing an arrest warrant. This process may take 3 to 4 months. The judges are said to come from Brazil, Latvia, and Ghana.

The Rome Statute that empowers the ICC provides that a UN Security Council resolution can postpone a prosecution for up to a year, and that successive such annual resolutions can continue the postponement indefinitely. China was already working on such a resolution to postpone the prosecution of al-Bashir and other high officials of the Sudan government even before Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo acted today, according to a UN diplomat who spoke to the Sudan Tribune July 11.