UN, China: posturing over the indictment of Sudanese President Al-Bashir
That’s more than can be said for the U.N., which initially sought to suppress its own candid report on the crisis for fear of offending Mr. Bashir and his Khartoum thugs. The U.N. later distinguished itself with a 2005 legal judgment that claimed that, despite mass murder, pillage and rape, Darfur could not be called a genocide because “genocidal intent appears to be missing.”
This U.N. absolution was particularly significant because it might have obliged the world body to intervene under the terms of the 1948 Genocide Convention. The Security Council has since done little more than sanction a handful of individuals and authorize a weak peacekeeping force that can barely protect itself, let alone innocent Darfuris. President Bush also proposed a no-fly zone, only to be talked out of it by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Meanwhile, China has voiced concern and misgivings at the indictment. Must be they think they could be indicted too and that they could lose a few benefits in the country:
“China expresses grave concern and misgivings about the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s indictment of the Sudanese leader,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regularly scheduled news conference in Beijing, according to the Reuters news service. Liu said that the court’s actions should promote stability and an adequate settlement in Darfur, not the contrary.
A Chinese Africa expert, however, was quoted as saying he did not expect China to move on its own to hold off the ICC, with the Beijing government anxious to make the best possible impression as Olympic host. He Wenping, a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the court’s ruling would “have many consequences that China won’t like” and would impede its ability to mediate over Darfur, where an estimated 450,000 civilians have died and 2.5 million have been displaced since 2003.
China, which has a vast stake in Sudanese oil, is also Sudan’s main arms supplier and has faced criticism from the West over its links to Khartoum. The BBC‘s “Panorama” program said it had evidence that China’s export of 212 army trucks to Sudan was in violation of a 2005 arms embargo.