Following the International Criminal Court’s issuance of an arrest warrant for the president of Sudan Omar al-Bashir, a number of major aid agencies in the region have been sent packing by the Government.
The agencies include:
- Medecines sans Frontieres (MSF)
- Oxfam International
- International Rescue Committee
Dr. Christophe Fournier, the International President of MSF warned of the fragility of the relief situation in the region in a statement from the organization:
“The order to expel MSF from Darfur is a dramatic turn of events that will have unprecedented consequences for the people of the region. Much of the population of Darfur is totally dependent on international humanitarian aid..
The sudden halt of our medical programs, including vital surgical, nutrition, and basic healthcare programs, in large areas of Darfur will have an immediate and devastating impact on the population.”
I imagine that this scenario had been simulated by the ICC in the rendering of their decision. This development vastly complicates the situation – the African Union has vowed not to enforce the arrest warrant after a meeting on Thursday to discuss ICC’s ruling, meaning that President al-Bashir will continue to roam a free man for who knows how long; on the other hand, thousands upon thousands of Sudanese in the Darfur region face starvation and widespread disease due to lack of proper medical attention.
So question is, who now plays the next hand? The AU won’t budge, the US is not a signatory to the Rome Treaty and the ICC has no police force of its own!
What now, is the response to the deteriorating situation in Darfur?