Thursday, March 01, 2007

Coalition of genocide deniers in Khartoum

The International Criminal Court has just announced that it will soon issue its first indictments for war crimes in Darfur, one of which will name a minister in the Khartoum government.
In a 94-page prosecution document filed with the court's judges, [ICC prosecutor]Luis Moreno-Ocampo singled out Ahmad Muhammad Harun, now a state minister for humanitarian affairs who was state minister of the interior, along with Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman (also known as Ali Kushayb), a leader of the Darfur militia known as the Janjaweed, in a total of 51 crimes against humanity and war crimes. The filing marked the first accusations against named individuals as a prelude to a trial.
What could be more timely than a visit to Khartoum by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Here is President Ahmadinejad with President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan:

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, center left, and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad review an honor guard upon Ahmadinejad's arrival at Khartoum airport, Sudan, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)

As my friend Gershon Shafir pointed out, the two belong to an exclusive club of genocide-denying heads of government. One has been trying to deny the existence of a genocide that already occurred, while the other tries to deny a genocide that his government is in the midst of committing. --Jeff Weintraub

CBS News
February 28, 2007
Iran, Sudan Leaders Meet
Ahmadinejad In Khartoum For Talks As He And Counterpart Face U.N. Ire

KHARTOUM, Sudan. (AP) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Sudan on Wednesday for talks between two leaders who face strong U.N. Security Council pressure — Iran for its nuclear program and Sudan for the conflict in Darfur.

Ahmadinejad was met at Khartoum airport by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, a day after the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor accused a junior member of al-Bashir's Cabinet of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

During his two-day visit, Ahmadinejad will deliver a lecture at a private institution in Khartoum and witness the signing of several bilateral agreements, according to Sudan's Information Ministry.

The permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany are currently discussing strengthening the limited sanctions imposed on Iran in December for its refusal to stop enriching uranium. Enriched uranium is used to fuel nuclear reactors but uranium enriched to a higher degree is used to make atomic bombs.

The United States accuses Iran of secretly trying to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, saying its enrichment is solely for self-sufficiency in fuel for nuclear power plants.

The United Nations is pushing the Khartoum government to accept 22,000 U.N. and African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, where 2.5 million people have become refugees and more than 200,000 have died in four years of fighting. Al-Bashir has rejected any significant U.N. deployment as a violation of sovereignty.

On Tuesday, the ICC chief prosecutor accused Sudan's minister of state for humanitarian affairs, Ahmed Muhammed Harun, of paying and recruiting militias responsible for murder, rape and torture in Darfur.

Harun, who is known to be a member of al-Bashir's inner circle, is alleged to have committed the crimes while a junior interior minister.

The prosecutor also accused a militia leader, Ali Mohammed Ali Abd-al-Rahman, of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Sudan rejected the allegations and said it would not hand the suspects over for trial.