By Elizabeth Willoughby on
As we await the determination of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in response to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation of Omar al-Bashir – the president of Sudan who has been accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity – Angelina Jolie has this reminder for the members to consider:
“[The UNSC’s] response will determine whether there is going to be an international standard of justice that holds perpetrators accountable for the worst crimes in the world,” she wrote in a recent article published in TIME.com
Frustrated that the humanitarian crisis in Darfur is falling off the radar, Jolie says, “the intensity of the crisis has not lessened for those who are struggling to survive. More than 250,000 people from Darfur have lived destitute lives in refugee camps in Chad for six years now. Camps with more than 2 million internally displaced persons inside Darfur are even worse. Thirty percent of those displaced are school-age children. Girls leaving the camps are raped; boys leaving the camps are killed. They want an education; they want to go back to their villages, to their land; they want peace. But they also want justice.”
Although Bashir has been indicted, he has not been arrested and continues to travel throughout Sudan and non-ICC countries with impunity. Some African ICC members have even discussed a withdrawal from the court in protest to the arrest warrant. It is hoped that the UNSC and other countries will press for Bashir’s extradition, nevertheless.
“The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court will stand in front of the U.N. Security Council,” says Jolie. “With painstaking detail he will report that Omar al-Bashir – a man who should protect his citizens – has attacked Darfuris relentlessly and methodically for five years and continues to do so. According to the UN Charter, the Security Council exists ‘to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security.’ If the results of the Darfur investigation, which they ordered, don’t merit their active engagement, what does?”
The UNSC did not issue a statement after the hearing. Whether they decide to “embrace impunity or to end it,” Jolie points out, “as they are considering Bashir’s fate they are also considering their own.”
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