columnBy Mohammed Abdulrahman
On March 31, 2005 the United Nations Security Council adopted its resolution No 1593 (2005) that refers the situation in Darfur since 1 July 2002 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The resolution guaranteed the USA that its nationals working in Sudan would not be handed over to the same court or any other country's court, if they commit crimes of international concern in Sudan. The resolution, which was received by organized silence from the side of the main stream international media, is expected to remove the issue of Darfur from international stage after that play card has exhausted its purpose in the fierce international power struggle. Now, rebel leaders, who were banking on keeping the sufferings of the people in Darfur in limbo for maximum political gains, would face difficulties in sourcing funds to finance their military activities in the region. From the other side, the Government has very little chances not to comply with UN resolution. Despite UN's decision, this historic resolution remains one of the most controversial resolutions taken by the UN in the recent times. Francis Fukuyama's model of 'End of History' reads: "We may be witnessing the end of history as such that: that is the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government," and "The future will be devoted to not great exhilarating struggles over ideas but rather to resolving mundane economic and technical problems."
The ICC is one of the products of the euphoria of the 'end of history' and universalisation of international justice (which is another name for Western value system) following the collapse of Berlin Wall. Under that fever, the advocates of the ICC thought that this legal instrument would be granted immunity against political manipulation and would be operated based on the basic fundamentals and operative norms of justice and rule of law such as; no one is above the law and 'human beings are equal before the law'.
One of the immediate implications of the UN resolution on Darfur is that, the UN system has aborted the foundation of ICC in the first test of its relevance on ground. Politically, the US won its prolonged war against ICC without a fight in the case of Darfur. France and Britain and the embattled United Nations, the pillar of the regime of end of history and the new universal justice system , granted US a significant political victory and legal concession from the laws of ICC with the US abstaining at the session of voting. The Darfur precedence automatically exempted the US officials who conducted illegal act of aggression against Iraq (aggression is one of four categories of crimes in view of ICC). The illegality of US war of lies against Iraq which was extracted by BBC from the General Secretary of United Nations has no significance now. It evaporated into the air after the same UN system legalized the ancient regime of privileges on the poor nations of the world. Most importantly acts of torture and humiliation of prisoners in Iraq are no longer issues of international concern.
On the other hand the UN resolution transformed the Sudanese people ( not only the 51 suspects) into refugees in their own country. The arguments of few people did this and 'the rest of Sudanese people I know are wonderful' is not applicable here and can not hold, since under this era of end of history, very few privileged intellectuals can advance such statement. The UN system transformed Sudanese people into very a special kind of refugees that are not entitled legally to justice service of the ICC in case nationals, current and former of State not contributing to ICC statue commit crimes against them in their country. Foreigners from some privileged nations in this planet working in Sudan shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC for alleged acts or omissions arising out or related operations in Sudan but subject to excusive jurisdiction of their own state. Knowing that Sudan also is not signatory to the same statue is not important now.
The simple, clear and straight message from the United Nations is that, from the point of view of the United Nations, people of Sudan, as from March 31 2005 are legally denied access to the universal system of justice of the end of history and era of spread of liberal democracy under the final form of human government. This resolution enforces and completes the on going process of re-colonisation of Sudan by Western Powers. The whole political system is run from outside the country with every Sudanese politician in government or opposition in his neck a huge stick that guides his actions and decisions. The stick comprises a package of sanctions, that include freeze of assets, travel ban and prosecution and the likes for who ever dears to resist the process of formulation of the big and important economic and political decisions . They are already controlled and have lost their independence in every aspects of decision making in major political and economic decisions concerning the future of the country which they are ruling or they wanted to rule. This is not out of speculation but written in policies and practices issued on monthly basis in form of resolutions from the UN and the American Congress. The reader can refer to the so called Sudan Peace Act and can review the frequent statements issued by Bush Administration on the composition of the forthcoming national unity government; who will be allowed to participate and who is not allowed.
But for the average Sudanese person the assault on his liberty and sovereignty, dignity of person and basic human rights, which was committed by so called international community, was never new. Sudan was the only country in the region which was colonized twice in the last two centuries. The British troops did not march to Khartoum to overthrow the national government in 1899, which was installed by the Mahdi in 1882, before signing agreement of sphere of influence with France in London in 1898 . It is so striking that the same two countries were the architects of the historical resolution of UN on March where the liberty of Sudanese people have been stripped. This new situation generates some humble questions: What would be the feeling of the American citizen who would be posted to the new Sudan which was born in March 31 2005? How comfortable would he be in the course of serving people whom he knows are legally less equal to him in the view and standards of the of era of the spread of liberal democracy? How would he reconcile these with the basics of the constitution of his country that taught him that people are created equal? How would the young French man and women reconcile the discriminatory act of his government at the United Nations, against Sudanese people with centuries of socialization of the vocabulary of French Revolution that dismantled the ancient regime of privileges of the Lords ? The Headquarters of ICC may be now more safe from the threat of invasion under the Act of Protection of Servicemen Act , which was passed into law by Bush administration. That was because the objectives of the Act (dubbed Huge Invasion Act) are achieved without a fight by the resolution of the United Nations . But I wonder how the Prosecutor of the embattled ICC would exercise his duties and deliver justice on the basis of injustice.
Now, every party in this scandal tries to send the blame to others. A senior French Diplomat told a Sudan gathering organised by the Student Union that France apposed the resolution and did not submit the final draft. America also abstained from the voting session. But who is to blame? The best way to answer this question is to ask it in another form: what are the international circumstances that produced this assault against Sudanese people?
The UN resolution was adopted within a fragile and overheated international environment. The UN and other actors were under severe moral stress arising from a series of alleged scandals . The Western Powers were also constrained and crippled by fierce competition over the sphere of influence in Sudan. The UN resolution was based on the argument that "the situation in Darfur continues to threaten the international peace". Historically speaking, it was not the clash of ideologies or civilizations that threaten the world peace. It was the fierce competition among Western Powers, informed by their naked self interest, that had twice threatened the world peace and sent the world into two insane world wars.
European Powers thought what they have lost in the profitable business of destruction and reconstruction in Iraq could be balanced in Sudan through the Gate of Darfur. The French troops are stationed in Chad under the legacy of the agreement of sphere of influence of 1898. The timing of the conflict in Darfur was coincided with some signs of success of the American sponsored Peace Accord between SPLA and Khartoum Government. American elections and scandals of the prisoners in Iraq added more to the boiling international atmosphere and the restless behaviour of operator of international system. When the Darfur conflict went out of hand, all the competitors thought it is their golden opportunity to protect their very interest. The AU efforts were continuously crippled by restless intervention and interruption of USA Congress and UN efforts on monthly basis.
This rich experience of Sudanese people arising from the frequent encounters with the old and new colonial power is their asset not to turn themselves into groups of terrorist or fascist in response to their grievances. They should not be frustrated in their domestic plain and constrain themselves by the ideology of sphere of influence. Because the world has been created for all of us and belong to all of us. They should integrate themselves into international movements to transform the status quo into international economic, political and justice system for all. And an universal justice and value system hanging over unfair international economic and political system would not stand the test of time The good times of humanity are yet to come.
The Imperialist Powers know that the international political system can never operate in their favour unless they stick to the old and new rule of the international relations: the powerful take all what they can and the weak surrender what they must. For the people who still continue to hold the powers and standards of allocation of honour bragging by their value system of the end of history one would refer them to the statement of the most influential and distinguished scholar, Professor Samuel Huntington: "The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few members of other civilizations were converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence". And he went on to say" Westerners often forget this fact: non-westerners never do."
AbdulRahman is Vice President, Sudanese Association in Abuja.