US Will Veto Bashir Deferral Resolution
Who would have thought that the US would emerge as the most committed supporter of the ICC in Darfur? From the “Hague Invasion Act” to protecting the Court from the spinelessness of its erstwhile supporters, the UK and France:
“If asked—if forced to vote today—the United States, even if it was 191 countries against one, would veto an Article 16 [resolution],” Ambassador Richard Williamson, the U.S. special envoy to Sudan said at a hearing of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
This is the first time a US official makes a formal position on issue of the suspension despite the heavy debate within the UN and regional organizations.
But the diplomat stopped short of saying that the U.S. will never support the suspension of the ICC’s Darfur cases, instead laying out a list of conditions that should be met before such a move would be tolerable, including “progress on the ground to provide alleviation of humanitarian suffering” and “sustainable security on the ground in Darfur and South Sudan.”
“We have not seen a response by the officials in Sudan to approach the sort of meaningful steps in those areas that are noteworthy,” said Williamson.
This is the correct position. The Security Council can defer the prosecution at any time, so why not force Bashir to show genuine willingness to negotiate in good faith before giving him a year of breathing room?
Here’s a sentence I don’t get to write very often — but one I’m delighted to write on this occasion: Kudos to the US!