Last week, I wrote that the arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Gadhafi was a joke because there was no way to enforce it. Today, another blow was dealt to international justice. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir traveled to China for a visit, mainly to sign business deals, and China refused to arrest him despite having an ICC bounty on his head. Now, China is not member of the ICC, neither is the U.S., but most thought it was appropriate the warrant still be respected. Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said the following:
"There is duty and responsibility on the part of every country, including China, to assist the court in bringing to justice individuals who have been indicted," Pillay told a news conference.Not to say that all non-ICC states would have acted this way. If Bashir traveled to the U.S., for instance, he certainly would be handed over. But in the world of international law everything is optional. States have interests and will make decisions about which laws apply depending on those interests. In this case, China gets lots of oil from Sudan. Unless nations are accountable for not upholding or at least recognizing these statutes, then the laws and institutions are useless.
"So I think it's disappointing when states do not deliver on this responsibility. In this particular case there was an opportunity to ensure that Mr Bashir is enabled to stand trial. The whole world favours trial."
Photo Credit: Voice of America