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Africa’s indecisiveness in dealing with justice

By Hany Besada      

Are we dealing with a conflict between peace and justice or is it a smokescreen meant to protect African leaders from future indictments for crimes against humanity?

GUELPH, ONT.—Are we dealing with a conflict between peace and justice or is it a smokescreen meant to protect African leaders from future indictments for crimes against humanity? Last month at the 13th African Union (AU) Summit in Libya the AU voted to ignore the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant for Sudan’s President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, with only Chad officially expressing some reservation. In the first ICC case against a sitting head of state, opinions are divided and fears of setting precedents run high. In July 2008, the prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, accused the Sudanese leader of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Darfur. In March 2009, the court issued an arrest warrant for the Sudanese leader. The violent conflict in Darfur has left more than 300,000 people killed and another 2.7 million internally displaced. As head of state and commander of the Sudanese armed forces, Al Bashir is accused of leading a five-year counter-insurgency campaign against three armed groups in Darfur.

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