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Unpunished for Genocide, Dictator Tries to Come to U.N.

October 2, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

Over the years, I have reported often on President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, against whom the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The last offense recognizes his murders of more than 300,000 of his subjects in Darfur. Many thousands more Sudanese have been hurled into wretched refugee camps, suffering further killings and rapes committed by his troops.

Despite these arrest warrants, al-Bashir has yet to be tried. He has been welcomed, without fear of arrest, in Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya and China. His avoidance of punishment has been received with indifference by most American media for years. However, London-based Reuters reported last month that he was going to the “U.N. General Assembly and had already booked a hotel in New York” (“Sudan’s Bashir, wanted by the ICC, says he will travel to U.N.,” Ulf Laessing and Khalid Abdelaziz, Reuters, Sept. 22).

I was sickened, but not surprised. I knew that all members of the International Criminal Court must detain any visitor against whom it had issued an arrest warrant. But the United States, where a hotel suite was waiting for him, is not a member of the International Criminal Court. Of course, al-Bashir knew this.

Reuters quoted the monster: “Nobody in the U.S. can question me or hold me.”

At first, our media expressed hardly any shocked indignation at his intended visit. This, even though al-Bashir has continued killing his people and his allies, in, for example, the Nuba Mountains, with little notice, except by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who’s often on the perilous scene.

But human rights organizations began urging action by President Barack Obama, whose administration at first didn’t have much to say about this multidimensional war criminal’s arrival. A particularly incisive and forceful confronter of Obama was Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service, which not only orates against human rights abuses but also keeps working against them.

I’ve known Ruth since she was involved in real-life educational reform here in New York. She does not give up. Last month, she and numerous other human rights activists signed a letter addressed to President Obama, asking him to take a stand against al-Bashir’s planned visit:

“Our immigration laws prohibit admitting perpetrators of genocide and extrajudicial killings into our country and it is unprecedented for someone wanted by the International Criminal Court for the crime of genocide to travel to the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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