WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) – Chanting: “Hands off Sudan!” “The ICC is a racist court!” and “Down with the ICC!” more than 100 activists protested March 11 at the Sudan embassy here to show opposition to the recent decision by the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir.
“This is the first time that a sitting head of state has been issued an arrest warrant,” Abdul Akbar Muhammad, of the Nation of Islam, told the rally. “The hypocrisy of it is that many of the countries of the world, where their leaders should be tried, do not belong to the ICC. They refuse to sign on.
“We are saying to the International Criminal Court, if you want to do your duty, then your first duty should be to arrest George Bush for the destruction of Iraq, for the genocide in Iraq, for the killing of nearly four million civilians in Iraq and destroying a whole society,” Mr. Muhammad said.
The International Criminal Court is a “racist tool of Western imperialists” members of the “Hands Off Sudan” coalition of Black Americans, Muslims and other activist groups including the International ANSWER Coalition and followers of Lyndon LaRouche said in a statement. The indictment against President Al-Bashir is “totally unwarranted” and “a new racist genocide against Africa,” the statement continued.
The ICC has received more than 1,700 complaints from at least 103 different countries, to investigate charges of “the most serious crimes” of global concern, inclusive of crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, and the crimes of aggression, said Hodari Abdul Ali, a member of the Give Peace a Chance Coalition. “Yet, the only investigations which the court has initiated have been in African countries.”
Sudan has the largest land area of any country in Africa. It borders at least nine other countries, and is a gateway from the Middle East to Central Africa, and it is a country that is very rich, not only with the oil, but with water under the desert floor in Darfur, as well as untapped deposits of uranium, gold and copper, rally organizers said.
The African Union, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement all stand in solidarity with the Sudanese government against what Mr. Muhammad called an attempt at regime change.
But some members of the Congressional Black Caucus support the ICC action. “Today’s action by the ICC sends a clear message to the genocidal regime in Khartoum that crimes against humanity will not go unpunished,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “General Bashir should step down and turn himself in to the ICC so that we can finally begin the process of ending the violence and bringing peace to Darfur.
“Together with the release of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommendations on Sudan, it is timelier than ever for the Administration to appoint a Special Envoy to the region,” the statement by Rep. Lee, who is chair of the CBC, continued. “The people of Darfur are counting on us for help. The longer we wait to act, the longer we are stymied in our efforts the worse the situation will get. My colleagues and I stand ready to work with the Obama Administration to address this issue and bring about swift resolution.”
The USCIRF recommendations on U.S. Sudan policy focuses on “improving religious freedom conditions in Northern Sudan and promoting peace in the Western region of Darfur,” according to Rep. Lee.
But members of the Give Peace a Chance Coalition strongly disagree. “You have to know the history of what the Sudan has been challenged with since 1989 when an Islamic government took over,” said Mr. Muhammad. “There have been attempts by certain elements of the international community, in particular the Zionist state, to break up the Sudan and cause the Sudan to become a failed state.
“They want a repeat performance of what has taken place in Somalia. That is a failed state. And on the African continent, you had Sierra Leone, it became a failed state. Liberia became a failed state. Somalia is a failed state. The DRC–Democratic Republic of the Congo–is a failed state. The best way you can engineer a failed state is what took place in Somalia in 1991, when the president was overthrown and they have not been able to form a government since that time.”
If Sudan becomes a failed state he said, a civil war will break out, allowing Western countries to control the country’s assets, said Mr. Muhammad. “Who supported the rebels in Darfur?” he asked rhetorically. “Where are they getting their money and their passports, and their weapons and munitions?” That support he said comes from Israel, which does not want to see a strong Islamic government emerge in Africa.
The indictment of President Al-Bashir will destroy any hopes of peace in the war-ravaged region of Darfur, said Mr. Abdul Ali and likely lead to the break-up of Sudan, destroying a hard-fought comprehensive peace agreement.
“A collapse of the fragile peace talks over Darfur might result in renewed danger for hundreds of thousands; the biggest danger is the collapse of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South, which could lead to the death of millions,” said Mr. Abdul Ali. “We call for the abolition of the International Criminal Court. Its existence itself is a crime against humanity–because it disregards the principle of the sovereignty of nation states. It is now clear that the ICC, in the tradition of the racists of the past, targets some nation states and peoples more than others–specifically, dark-skinned African people.”
“A judge should be impartial. The law should apply to everyone and not only the weak,” he said, questioning why the denunciations of African leaders by the international community, are so frequent, while other countries, such as those involved in the conflicts in Gaza, Iraq, or Sri Lanka are not condemned.
African Union Commission Chief Jean Ping has also accused the court of concentrating only on Africans, “We think there is a problem with ICC targeting only Africans, as if Africa has been a place to experiment with their ideas.The African Union has formally called on the United Nations Security Council to defer an indictment for 12 months, to give a greater chance to the peace process now ongoing between the Sudanese government and rebel factions,” Mr. Ping said according to the coalition.
Other rally participants included Dr. Kaukab Siddique of Baltimore based Jamaat Al-Muslimeen; and Lawrence Freeman of the Executive Intelligence Review magazine’s Africa desk.