international justice

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Hello friends! Yet another (shameless?) plug: I recently organized an Online Symposium for the Harvard Human Rights Journal on access to justice, particularly via customary and informal systems, and we received a range of fascinating submissions from scholars and practitioners around the world. Read more below and check out these illuminating articles:

From the Informal to the Formal: Examining Access to Justice and Customary Justice Mechanisms 

The HHRJ Online Symposium this year centers on issues of access to justice to the poor around the world, with a particular focus on examining the challenges that exist within informal, customary and traditional mechanisms of dispute resolution.

In many countries, the formal state-governed justice system exists alongside various informal methods of justice delivery and dispute resolution, often termed “informal,” “non-state,” “traditional,” or “customary” mechanisms. Due to the barriers faced by litigants attempting to access the formal justice system, many have began to shift a focus to informal methods of dispute resolution in a range of cases – such as family law, land and property disputes, and issues of economic and social rights. There has been an increased emphasis on mediations and on engaging with informal justice mechanisms that already exist at the grassroots level, such as the  shalish in Bangladesh, the bashingantahe in Burundi, or the shura Jirga in Afghanistan. Although informal systems of dispute resolution are often more accessible and familiar to communities, they come with their own challenges and considerations, particularly in relation to gender and human rights norms.

Alongside such concerns, however, there have been innovations and experiments that are promising in their initial stages, improving access to justice in ways that comport with human rights norms, both via formal state-run systems as well as NGO-led and non-state mechanisms.  We have published five pieces by leading scholars, academics and practitioners in this field that build upon this theme and explore in greater depth the complexities inherent in working to promote grassroots access to justice to communities, and especially the added questions raised by customary justice systems:

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Here’s quite a fascinating TED talk by Kimberley Motley,who I know has been somewhat of a controversial figure in Afghanistan in the past. She has some interesting thoughts on what it’s like to be a lawyer, representing clients and promoting rule of law in fragile states such as Afghanistan. She represents an interesting array of cases, including gender-based violence and human rights cases in Afghanistan.

Her main thrust in this talk, which I have always agreed with  – is that in many countries, there are already many laws on the books that could protect and promote human rights. Even within Shari’a law, there are ways to interpret key statutes and the Quran in ways that are gender-equitable. There are many laws relating to family and criminal law on the books in Afghanistan and elsewhere that are indeed, good for rights. The problem is that these laws are not being used. When they are implemented effectively by lawyers who are good at advocating for their clients, you can truly foster a culture of ‘rule of law.’

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A great post on OpenDemocracy recently by Chris Jochnick discussed human rights tools of litigation, and how the law can be harnessed to address some of the root causes of poverty. I especially liked the following questions he asks at the end, which I think are absolutely spot on:

  1. Can resources be mobilized at scale to support human rights work that directly confronts poverty, inequities and vested interests? The longstanding bias of human rights funders against ESR continues to limit this work.

  2. Can lawyers and litigation be incorporated into grassroots struggles without co-opting them? The legal training, the proximity to power, the allure of lawsuits, the mythologies of legal expertise all conspire against good faith efforts of lawyers to serve rather than lead campaigns.

  3. Can transnational human rights advocates find a way to work closely and collaboratively enough with those living in poverty, while retaining a strategic focus on broader structural issues? The rise of stronger human rights groups in the global south, connected to social movements and networked to international platforms (with a helpful infusion from the Ford Foundation) represents a promising, if fragile, step in this direction.

These questions often pique my interest when working in the human rights field. I often question: how can we mobilize individual struggles and direct legal services into broader change, and at the same time how can human rights advocates engaging in high-level litigation or “impact” cases while still maintaining a close connection to communities?  Especially, as he writes above, the “legal training, the proximity to power…” often make it appealing for lawyers to take leading roles in campaigns rather than a backseat. At the same time, often working to provide legal services or working with clients on an individual, one-on-one basis can be particularly difficult, not to mention can be challenging to make any systemic reform.

A great post summing up some of the debates in human rights/transnational lawyering and advocacy work, and absolutely worth checking out.

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The crisis in #Gaza is truly heartbreaking; stories of children in Gaza who have been killed in the conflict, and the pictures of dead civilians are truly heart rendering. Regardless of your views on this conflict, the fact that innocent civilians are dying should give you reason to pause. Although this is a few days late, I wanted to point out some of the arguments being used to justify civilian deaths in Gaza — and why Israel’s actions still cannot be justified under international humanitarian law.

First of all, the news media and Israel’s government has essentially been blaming Gazan civilians for their own deaths due to the actions of Hamas.  By accusing Hamas of using civilians as ‘human shields’ (by storing weapons among civilian locations and targets such as in schools and communities) Israel is legitimizing the deaths of innocent Palestinian civilians and blaming them for their own demise — thus absolving Israel itself of any responsibility for so many deaths. The media has conveniently picked up this narrative, too.

As Noura Erakat more aptly writes, this type of narrative deprives Palestinians of the right to even be victims. 

Israel’s propaganda machine, however, insists that these Palestinians wanted to die (“culture of martyrdom”), staged their own death (“telegenically dead”) or were the tragic victims of Hamas’s use of civilian infrastructure for military purposes (“human shielding”). In all instances, the military power is blaming the victims for their own deaths, accusing them of devaluing life and attributing this disregard to cultural bankruptcy. In effect, Israel—along with uncritical mainstream media that unquestionably accept this discourse—dehumanizes Palestinians, deprives them even of their victimhood and legitimizes egregious human rights and legal violations.

But even if Hamas is hiding its weapons in civilian targets – like homes, schools and mosques – this does not actually absolve Israel of its responsibilities under humanitarian law.

Under the laws of war, there are a few key protections for civilians. Primarily is the principle of distinctionwhere civilians are supposed to be protected from military operations.  Parties in an armed conflict must distinguish at all times between combatants and military objectives & civilians and civilian objects.  Armed actors are only allowed to target military objectives/objects. This means that civilian objects – like homes, or schools – are simply not acceptable targets by a party to the conflict.  The presence in the civilian population of combatants does not deprive the population of its civilian character, and indiscriminate attacks which do not adequately distinguish between civilian & military targets are not allowed.

True, what Hamas is doing is not good and does not protect the lives of civilians.  Hamas has also been violating humanitarian law by indiscriminately firing rockets into Israel without specifically targeting military objects, and the use of human shields is also prohibited (some would dispute that Hamas is doing this, even).  But regardless of Hamas’s actions, Israel still has a responsibility to respect the principles of distinction and to protect civilian lives.

Ultimately, as Brad Parker sums up in this excellent article,

A civilian home, school, or hospital that is in some way deemed by Israeli forces to be “affiliated” with Hamas or another Palestinian armed group does not in itself provide legal justification under international humanitarian law to direct an attack at that object. The standard demands much more, and requires an exacting calculation. Precision is necessary because imprecision leads to war crimes.

Palestinian civilians must not be blamed for their own deaths. Even if Hamas or another Palestinian armed group may have violated the laws of war and used civilians as human shields, this does not relieve Israel from its obligations under international law nor does it justify an attack on civilians or civilian structures.

Now, if only humanitarian law had some weight in the world — and had the power to really constrain these countries’ actions; if only, a great deal of bloodshed would have been prevented in this conflict.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you have seen your Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds blow up with reposts of Invisible Children’s (IC) new viral social media campaign, “Kony 2012,” intended to make Joseph Kony, the rebel leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, infamous worldwide — so that the international community can bring pressure to arrest him in order to bring an end to his abductions of child soldiers. After watching the video, I realized how so many young Americans could be moved by Invisible Children’s message again and again, and be truly compelled to take action. IC is the prime example of how effective non-profit marketing can be, and how viral campaigns can reach middle- and upper-class people in the Western world, shake them out of their comfort zone, and join a cause. IC is an expert in movement building, so I want to say that I understand why so many of my friends have been drawn to this cause. Unfortunately, having studied the situation in Uganda (though I have not visited) I have to say that I must join many other bloggers in saying that I cannot support the #Kony2012 campaign. Here’s why:

The facts can be misleading:

Why should we trust a campaign when many of the facts underlying the campaign are actually problematic?

  • First of all, Uganda is not in Central Africa, but in Eastern Africa. The fact that the video has not been…well…rigorously fact checked at the more basic level is certainly disappointing to me.
  • The filmmakers do briefly acknowledge that the war started by Kony has spread out from Uganda and into neighboring countries, but this is too short a discussion of a truly important point.  Kony has largely moved from Uganda to nearby countries such as the DRC, Sudan and the CAR. In fact, Kony has not been in Uganda for the last 6 years. Northern Uganda is now in a very different place, politically and economically, since IC created its first film; while it is more peaceful, the larger problems in northern Uganda remain issues like lack of healthcare and unemployment. Thus, the focus of the video should not have been Uganda at this point but should also have discussed the issues in the DRC, Sudan, and the CAR. This very important fact should have been addressed in much more depth in the video. As it is now, it creates a false impression for viewers of what’s actually going on in the region.

The solution is unclear – and will it work?

  • Obama has already deployed 100 troops/’advisors” to help the Ugandan army in bringing Kony to justice. So what exactly is the goal of this campaign? Steps are already being taken by the U.S. government, and I suppose we could have other countries also deploy further troops/advisors to help in tracking down Kony. This does seem to be an area where perhaps more can be done.
  • However… the solution of bringing one individual – Kony – to justice is not the only thing that needs to happen. Many other issues in the region must be dealt with, and as Ugandans will point out there are larger issues of unemployment/lack of health care/reintegration of child soldiers, etc that must be addressed. Yes, I do believe that it is important to bring Kony to justice, but there is already a campaign for this underway as he has been indicted by the International Criminal Court. By no means is he “unknown” as many, many people throughout Central and East Africa are indeed aware of him. Ultimately, I am not sure whether simply raising tons and tons of awareness will solve the problem, as there are many deeper rooted issues of poverty and justice in the region that must be addressed for the long-term.

The video reeks of the “white savior complex” and little agency/voice is given to citizens of Uganda, Sudan & the CAR and their solutions to the conflict.

By the end of the video, I realized why I was feeling so uncomfortable: the rhetoric was all about empowering US – young and privileged Americans – to take action! A lot of young people were interviewed to talk about how they felt empowered by this cause to finally take action and make a difference. However, who should we really be trying to empower here? The video was all about empowering Western activists to become do-gooders, but I believe Americans should not be the primary actors in this story about Uganda. Ugandans should be! The solution should lie in listening to Ugandan voices and empowering Ugandan people (or those affected by the conflict in the DRC, CAR, and Sudan) to take action and begin solving the problems they see in their communities. And the truth is, people are already organizing – but local leaders and activists are not recognized or honored by Invisible Children. Instead, privileged Western activists are primarily those who are praised, put on the pedestal, and in the spotlight in this movement. That, to me, is an incredible flaw in this movement. #Kony2012 is more about US – how western activists can feel warm and fuzzy about doing something good & how privileged Americans  can feel empowered – not really about the people we’re trying to help here.

I do acknowledge that a few Ugandans are interviewed, but this is simply not enough, compared to the number of Western activists who are portrayed and extensively profiled. The main Ugandan voice we hear is Jacob, but the majority of the time he is portrayed as sad, depressed, helpless– even to the point of seeming suicidal. We do not hear the voices of many empowered Ugandans talking about this issue or potential solutions. We do not hear any debate, actually, about what the solution might be (and believe me, there has been a ton of debate about peace v. justice in this region). We do not talk about many other victims of Kony’s war or their families, and we do not hear their opinions. In my view, at least 15 minutes of this video should have been dedicated to talking to victims of Kony’s war and their beliefs as to what should be happening next.

To sum up this critique, here’s a quote from an excellent article “Taking Kony 2012 Down a Notch“:

It is hard to respect any documentary on northern Uganda where a five year-old white boy features more prominently than any northern Ugandan victim or survivor. Incredibly, with the exception of the adolescent northern Ugandan victim, Jacob, the voices of northern Ugandans go almost completely unheard.

It isn’t hard to imagine why the views of northern Ugandans wouldn’t be considered: they don’t fit with the narrative produced and reproduced in the insulated echo chamber that produced the ‘Kony 2012? film.

‘Kony 2012?, quite dubiously, avoids stepping into the ‘peace-justice’ question in northern Uganda precisely because it is a world of contesting and plural views, eloquently expressed by the northern Ugandans themselves. Some reports suggest that the majority of Acholi people continue to support the amnesty process whereby LRA combatants – including senior officials – return to the country in exchange for amnesty and entering a process of ‘traditional justice’. Many continue to support the Ugandan Amnesty law because of the reality that it is their own children who constitute the LRA. Once again, this issue is barely touched upon in the film. Yet the LRA poses a stark dilemma to the people of northern Uganda: it is now composed primarily of child soldiers, most of whom were abducted and forced to join the rebel ranks and commit atrocities. Labeling them “victims” or “perpetrators” becomes particularly problematic as they are often both.

Indeed, if you ask Ugandans what their priorities are, here’s what they responded according to the ICTJ’s research note on attitudes about peace & justice in northern Uganda (2008 – so be aware this is outdated):

The main priorities for respondents at the time of the  survey were health (45.2%), peace (44.1%), livelihood concerns (including food, 43.2%; agricultural land, 37.2%; money and finances, 34.8%), and education for the children  (30.5%). Only 3 percent of respondents mentioned justice as a top priority. However, more than two-thirds of respondents (70%) said it was important to hold accountable those responsible for committing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in northern Uganda. Half the respondents said the LRA leaders should  be held accountable, and 48 percent said all of the LRA. Forty percent said the government should be held accountable.

When asked if they favored peace with amnesty or peace with trials, 80 percent of the respondents chose peace with amnesty. The figure may reflect the fear respondents have that trials would spoil the peace process. […] The vast majority (95%) said a written historical record of what had happened during the war in northern Uganda should be prepared, and 89 percent were willing to talk openly about their experiences in a court or public hearing. Over 90 percent supported the establishment of a truth commission. Coupled with figures on  priorities and accountability, the data suggests that the vast majority of respondents do not want the ICC to jeopardize the peace process. But, given the chance, they would like to have some form of accountability for past crimes.

Certainly, this illustrates there is clear support for accountability, but we also need to pay attention to issues such as health, livelihood and education.

Invisible Children’s finances are worrisome:

You can check out the organization’s finances here for yourself. As quoted from this blog post (an excellent Tumblr called Visible Children):

Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 32% went to direct services (page 6), with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production. This is far from ideal for an issue which arguably needs action and aid, not awareness, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they lack an external audit committee.

 Ultimately, there are many more blog posts about this topic, so I’m not sure I’ve shed light on anything new at this point. However, I hope that some of my readers – perhaps family and friends who have not read any critiques of this campaign up until this point – may take away something valuable from this post. I don’t believe we should sit aside and do nothing while children are being abducted cruelly into a war. I do believe that action is necessary; that’s why I work so hard on raising funds for non-profits I believe in particularly with the goal of empowering local leaders to change their communities. I do, however, advocate looking at a potential advocacy campaign such as this from all sides to gain a deeper understanding of the actual situation at hand, and how we can best work together with local leaders in partnership to come to a solution. I simply don’t think that we, Americans, can singlehandedly solve an intractable problem like this, and I believe in partnership as the best way to arrive at solutions that will truly satisfy the victims of this conflict. Thanks for reading!

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Women Under Siege is a fascinating new initiative of the Women’s Media Center that focuses on rape and sexual violence used as tools of control in instances of war, conflict, and genocide throughout the world. The project is spearheaded by Gloria Steinem and hopes to increase our understanding of the causes of mass sexual assaults so that we may begin to work towards the solutions and hopefully, prevention in the future. The new project’s aim is commendable: to demonstrate that rape is a tool of war via public education, and an action plan to push for the interventions to halt gender-based genocide. Definitely a new project to watch – and a fascinating blog!

However, one of their most recent blog posts, titled “What it’s like to cover the unbearable stories of rape in the Congo,” gave me some pause. It is an interview with intrepid photojournalist Lynsey Addario, who discusses her time in the DRC interviewing survivors of sexual violence and rape. Addario writes:

Rape as a weapon of war was rampant in Congo. Soldiers raped women to mark their territory, to destroy family bonds (women were often ostracized from their families once they were raped), and to show their power and intimidate civilians. They gang-raped women—they used their weapons to tear them apart, causing internal tears resulting in fistula—and they forced the families of the victims to watch gang rapes in progress. The stories were unbearable, and the more testimonies I heard during interviews, the more angry and sad I became.

On the plus side, Addario does write about the inspiration she gained from speaking with these women – she mentions their courage in the face of immense obstacles below:

 I didn’t meet a single women in all my interviews who felt resentment toward their child born out of rape and violence: It amazed me that all the women had the maturity and heart to love their children regardless of the circumstances out of which they were born.
{…}
I felt inadequate and helpless as a journalist: Rape as a weapon of war started long before I came along in the DRC, and would sadly continue for long after. But all the women and girls I met were a testament to the strength of women to persevere in the face of evil, and continue to be an inspiration to me today.

However, my seed of doubt has begun with the worry that focusing exclusively on stories of war and gender-based violence in the DRC (and in other parts of the world) simply might amplify the negative stereotypes of Africa as a place of nothing more than war, pain, misery, and suffering. Building off my previous post, don’t journalists have some sort of obligation to pay attention to their portrayal of African women as helpless, victimized, with little voice, agency or control over their lives?

I frequently go back to “How to write about Africa,” the excellent article about how exactly not to do so. This part seems especially relevant:

Among your characters you must always include The Starving African, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked, and waits for the benevolence of the West. Her children have flies on their eyelids and pot bellies, and her breasts are flat and empty. She must look utterly helpless. She can have no past, no history; such diversions ruin the dramatic moment. Moans are good. She must never say anything about herself in the dialogue except to speak of her (unspeakable) suffering.

Obviously, articles like the Women Under Siege post mentioned are not as flawed — but I will say that we should ask reporters not just to write about the helpless nature of African “victims” of rape, so as not to fit so neatly into the familiar and sad tropes about Africa as a continent of war and suffering — and indeed, the entire developing world. As I have said before, this does not mean we shouldn’t talk about human suffering, or that we should ignore the plight of survivors of gender-based violence and genocide. These issues deserve to be discussed seriously. But let us not portray the subjects of our stories as powerless and voiceless beings, and let us also devote attention to all the positive developments that are happening.

Why don’t reporters talk about non-profits in the DRC and elsewhere that are changing their communities for the better? Why not feature and speak to local women leaders who are dynamic and tireless in pursuit of a better future? There are many empowering stories to be told, but unfortunately I all too often see them ignored in favor of stories of the silent “victims.”

What do you think? How can reporters balance writing about rape survivors, genocide and other human rights issues without perpetuating stereotypes?

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My inspiring story of the day (other than, you know, all the protests happening in Bahrain, Wisconsin, etc..) was about an innovative mobile gender justice court prosecuting perpetrators of sexual violence and rape in Congo.

The court is trying eleven soldiers, responsible for a mass rape on New Year’s Day of dozens of women and girls in the town of Fizi, DRC. The court, run by the Open Society Institute, is charging them with rape as a crime against humanity. Find below, some excerpts from the OSI blog post written by Kelly Askin:

I first came to eastern Congo in 2008, looking for a way to help end impunity for the sexual violence rampant in the country. Congo was already widely known as the “rape capital of the world.” Some form of local justice was needed to complement the cases before the International Criminal Court, which does not have the capacity to handle more than a handful of the most senior perpetrators of international crimes.

My idea was to design a mobile court that would travel to very remote areas and provide recourse for victims otherwise without access to a formal justice process. The mobile court would focus on sexual violence but have discretion to hear other crimes and have both civilian and military jurisdiction.

The project is being implemented by the Open Society Justice Initiative and the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative, and was piloted in 2009.

The project held nine mobile gender courts in 2010, hearing a total of 186 cases. Out of the 115 rape cases, 95 resulted in convictions and sentences from 3 to 20 years. It sounds like the court has been relatively successful at fighting impunity for perpetrators in the DRC, and has been more effective than the domestic courts in doing so. Askin writes:

This afternoon, we were allowed to observe the closed session hearing with the sex crime survivors. We heard heart-wrenching testimony from young girls and elderly women who had their lives and families shattered by horrific violence. Often rejected by their husbands and shunned by their communities, they were extremely traumatized, and in both physical and emotional pain. They fretted over basic survival needs, including how to feed themselves and their children, and whether other soldiers would retaliate against them or their families.

Despite all these concerns, one woman said that even though she’d never seen a trial before, she thought it was a necessary ingredient to bring peace to her country. I felt like a proud mother, listening to someone praise her baby.

On Monday, when the judgment is delivered, my hope is that the court will bring a measure of justice to the DRC and the verdict a measure of peace to the survivors.

Certainly, this innovative mobile court sounds like an excellent model and seems like it has helped in reducing impunity for perpetrators. However, in the long-run, international organizations and NGOs cannot be solely responsible for the functioning of such courts.

The long-run goal should be to (1) train legal stakeholders like local lawyers, judges, and police officers; (2) build up local legal infrastructure like courthouses, police stations, humane prisons, and rehabilitative alternatives, and (3) ensure that the court system is run efficiently by the government.

Of course, this is no easy task and much easier said than done, but it reminds me that while in the short-run such mobile gender courts can be an amazing (and necessary!) accomplishment, in the long-run, we should strive to empower local stakeholders and integrate these types of courts into the national justice system. Either way, this project sounds like a well-designed effort to combat gender-based violence in the DRC, and should certainly be applauded.

Photo Credit: Open Society Institute

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I just wanted to plug this great new Foreign Policy article, “How Obama Betrayed Sudan: The former Sudan Envoy on how U.S. government policy could push the country back into civil war.” I took a class at Northwestern, about Sudan and Darfur, with the author – Richard Williamson, our former Sudan Special Envoy. His perspective is incredibly smart and much needed, informed by his years of work on the thorny Sudanese conflict.

The article essentially deals with the consequences of the new approach the U.S. government is taking with regards to Khartoum – that of engagement and “carrots” rather than “sticks” with al-Bashir. Most recently, the Obama administration has offered to remove Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism list, in exchange for Bashir’s cooperation. However, the policy of Scott Gration and the Obama administration (which entails giving “gold stars” and “cookies” to a genocidal regime…) may be severely flawed, as past experience and history has shown that “sticks” and sanctions are far more effective in dealing with the Khartoum regime. I’m not an expert at all on this topic, but I trust his opinion on the matter…

On March 4, 2009, after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Obama did not even go before the cameras to applaud this step to end impunity. Instead, the White House made only a perfunctory statement. Just under a month later, the president’s special envoy to Sudan, J. Scott Gration, got off a plane in Khartoum and said, “I love Sudan.” He returned from his first trip to Darfur and proclaimed that it wasn’t as bad as he had expected.

I have visited refugee and internally displaced persons camps throughout Africa and Asia. And while serving as Bush’s special envoy to Sudan I often traveled to camps in Darfur and visited with scores of men, women, and children who had been driven from their homes by Khartoum-backed militias. I have seen the horrific overcrowded conditions where, for as far as you can see, people live under torn plastic sheets; where from time to time the government turns off the electricity so wells do not work and people go without clean water; where there is disease and hunger; and where women are beaten and raped when they go out to gather firewood. It’s a living hell where suffering Sudanese survive in desperate conditions and have no hope of ever returning home. I know the Sudanese government took comfort in Gration’s words and was emboldened to continue its genocide in slow motion.

Then, when in violation of international humanitarian law Khartoum kicked out 13 international humanitarian NGOs from Darfur that were providing badly needed assistance, again the Obama team’s response was weak. Days later, the administration praised Khartoum for letting three of the NGOs back into Darfur. Meanwhile, for more than a year U.S. government reports of inadequate humanitarian aid to Darfur have been covered up in Washington, according to two people familiar with the documents.

When Khartoum has used its Sudanese Armed Forces aircraft to bomb villages and kill innocents in violation of various agreements, there has been no robust public rebuke.

When the presidential election stipulated in the CPA was far from credible, the Obama administration was quiet.

When earlier this year the ICC issued a further arrest warrant for Bashir, this time for genocide, the same word Obama repeatedly has used to describe the Sudanese government’s violence against its own people — again there was no cry for accountability. There have been no sticks.

Instead, Gration’s comment about the new arrest warrant was that it made his job harder. He has said in dealing with Khartoum that he must use “cookies” and “gold stars.”

The regime in Khartoum is smart and it is ruthless. Bashir came to power in a coup d’état in 1989 and has now remained in power for 20 years in a very tough neighborhood. He has taken the measure of the Obama administration and the international community, and that measure tells him there is little to fear if yet again he breaks his word.

Seems to me that our policies out to focus more on sanctions – like enforcing a no-fly zone, putting in place sanctions on China for shipping arms that fuel the genocide, and creating a coalition to make a concerted effort to ensure Bashir is rightly arrested by the ICC. I worry that the approach of “carrots” we’re taking simply sends a message to Bashir that he can continue to get away with war crimes, while taking advantage of U.S. goodwill. Once again, I’m no expert, so please do read the entire article here and leave a comment with your thoughts.

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