The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor on Monday filed genocide charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. In the court’s first attempt to go after a sitting head of state, the prosecutor accused Bashir of masterminding a campaign to wipe out African tribes in Darfur. (AP in The Washington Post)
What the commentators said
This “well-meaning” move “might salve the West’s conscience” over the 300,000 deaths in Darfur over the last five years, said the London Telegraph in an editorial, but “it may actually do more harm than good.” It could spark a backlash against aid organizations that “play a vital role in keeping people alive in Darfur.”
True, said Paul Reynolds in BBC News, and it’s “bound to complicate, some will say destroy, attempts to increase the presence of an international peacekeeping force” there. But issuing a warrant for al-Bashir’s arrest certainly poses fresh difficulties for those cozy with him, including China, which is a major arms supplier.
Now is the perfect time to ratchet up the pressure on Beijing to change its ways, said the Rocky Mountain News in an editorial. President Bush has rightly avoided “pointless showboating” by deciding not to join a boycott of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, but we hope he will make “a statement at the Games drawing attention to those who suffer from China's policies.”