Opinion

Commentary: Sudan's al-Bashir should pay for Darfur's suffering

This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.

For six years, President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has masterminded the systematic attacks that brought death to some 300,000 people in the western region of Darfur. Last week, the International Criminal Court finally issued an arrest warrant for him in recognition of the Sudanese president's responsibility for the horrifying slaughter and the abject failure of all diplomatic efforts to make him end the suffering.

His reaction? To order the immediate expulsion of 6,500 relief workers from 13 of the largest aid groups whose efforts keep millions of people alive in squalid refugee camps. Translation: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

This is typical of Mr. al-Bashir's reckless disregard for the lives of those caught up in the Arab-dominated government's war on black, non-Arab rebels in Darfur. The arrest warrant cites five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes. An ICC spokesman put it more dramatically and, we think, more accurately: He is, she said, criminally responsible for "murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians."

It's unlikely that Mr. al-Bashir will appear before the ICC anytime soon. Like the United States, Sudan isn't a party to the court and says it won't hand over its president or two others charged in connection with crimes in Darfur.

That's not the point, though. The arrest warrant makes Mr. al-Bashir an international criminal and fugitive from justice, a pariah. It also sends the message that crimes of such magnitude will not be tolerated and that those responsible for them can expect that one day they will have to stand in the dock and listen to a harsh verdict.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.

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