Rami Khouri, writing in the Jordan Times, raises questions about the International Criminal Court decision to charge Sudan President Omar Hassan Bashir with the crime of genocide. He suggests the indictment will result in Arabs wondering “if this is a new form of racism and colonialism that applies different standards of accountability for different countries.” Bashir is accused of masterminding policies to destroy three of the largest ethnic groups in Darfur(the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa) by using the armed forces, the Jajaweed mlitias, and the entire government apparatus in an effort to kill civilians.
“But these criminal charges against Arabs in Sudan,” says Khouri, “have to be weighed against three other realities: massive crimes committed against Arabs by their own leaders in other Arab countries; crimes committed by Israel; and, the mass suffering, death, destitution, refugee flows, and other consequences of invading foreign forces– especially the American-led troops in Iraq. Will any of the crimes by Arab, Israeli or American leaders be equally investigated in due course?”
Mr. Khouri validly suggests all who go down the road of using violence should be brought to trial. However, international courts at this juncture in human history simply can not intrude into each and every nation’s immoral behaviors. Which country has not used force and violence in pursuit of its aims–both internally and externally as a society? The Sudan is an example of “genocide” which is defined as the systematic destruction of a group of people. Israel, the United States, Hamas, Hezbollah and others have all used violence, but neither of these entities is engaged in a systematic destruction of a people. Granted, a critic might say, I am quibbling, but international courts simply lack the jurisdiction or resources to deal with all crimes against human dignity.