It is nearing 2:30 A.M., and due to the news being reported tonight on the BBC, I am most alert and in the office. One of the most reprehensible strongmen in the world is being ousted from power.
The village of Um Zaifa in Darfur burns after an attack by government-sponsored militia on December 12, 2004
This blog, from its early years, has had one person on the world stage, more than any other, placed in the cross-hairs of history. Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is a brutal war criminal and butcher of the people in Darfur. More than 300,000 people died in Darfur according to the United Nations. I have long called on the world community to right the wrongs from Darfur, and to have a not-to-be-missed response to his atrocities.
In December 2010 President Obama said of al-Bashir, “There can be no lasting peace in Darfur—and no normalization of relations between Sudan and the United States—without accountability for crimes that have been committed.”
Let me be more blunt.
Omar al-Bashir needs to rounded up and carted off and tried for crimes against humanity. A decade ago the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, accusing him of war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Darfur. If anyone doubts that fact look at the rape victims, the corpses, the burnt villages, and photos of the refugee camps.
As a high school freshman in 1977 I recall being drawn to the argument, made by the-then new American President Jimmy Carter, that human rights had to be a central feature to our foreign policy. These decades later I am still a staunch believer in that point of view. If anything, recent history has proved the correctness of the ‘Carter Doctrine.’ Tonight I am mindful, one way or another, that justice eventually arrives and brings its means to the job at hand.
Tonight it is reported that al-Bashir is stepping down—or more correctly being forced to remove himself from power. Sudan has been rocked by months of anti-government protests. The monster will be the second leader in the region to quit amid nationwide protests this month, as Algerian President Bouteflika also found it time to abandon his national thievery.
Now there must be a worldwide commitment to ensure that humanity has its day in court. al-Bashir must stand trial in The Hague, and in so doing will allow for the victims and their families to have the justice they need. And justice the world demands.