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The TNR Roundtable Part 10: What Should Obama Do About Darfur?

An on-the-ground reaction to the ICC arrest warrant.

Click here to read Part 9: Is Darfur really genocide? That is the central question.

Click here for links to each part of the conversation.

From: Elizabeth Rubin
To: Alex de Waal, Richard Just, Andrew Natsios, Eric Reeves, Alan Wolfe

Shortly after the ICC announcement, I sent an email to an old friend in Darfur whom I've been out of touch with to see how he was handling the consequences of the indictment and whether he regretted it given Bashir's reaction. On March 8, he wrote back:

     Iam really greatfull and happy to hear about you, after this very long time of
     silence! How are you doing? and how is every body among your entire family.
     For the first tme I feel that there some kind of justice in this world, and that
     theres no more impunity even for the head of states.

     My dear despite the huge reprecution of the indictment on humanitarian and
     human rights situation in Darfur, Iam extermely happy as well as many people
     through out Darfur are still celebrating the events.

     At least up to date about 35 Fur individauls have been arrested by
     NISS [intelligence] in SD [Southern Darfur] alone among them UN and INGO
     workers, thank god I was not among them, but my house was subjected to
     random shootings by unknwon armed men for three consecutive days. other
     problem but I still beleived that the HR situation will deterriote within the next
     than that no other coming few days specially after the pulling out of very
     important INGOS from the region.

There is no doubt that the ICC arrest warrant is having negative repercussions. One friend's email does not a case make. There will always be those who argue in favor of diplomatic negotiations and those who believe that justice must be part of the process. But the more the ICC is allowed to work simultaneously and unimpeded, the more the threat of punishment forwar crimes will get embedded in the minds of future warriors. That is partly why countries like the U.S., Israel, and China are so against it. The Obama administration ought to support the ICC's decision, continue to work on the political process, and reconsider the refusals of past American administrations to sign the ICC treaty.

Click here to read Part 11: We can pressure Khartoum without going to war.

Click here for links to each part of the conversation.

Elizabeth Rubin is the Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine.

By Elizabeth Rubin