When International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo stood before the Security Council last week to plead for support for his indictments of two perpetrators of mass atrocities and crimes against humanity in Darfur, who dared to stand strong against the Sudanese regime? Who threw their full support to the International Criminal Court in its attempts to finally bring a measure of justice to Darfur's people? The United States? That would make sense -- George W Bush would surely seize a rare opportunity to score a significant plus in what can only be viewed as his abysmal legacy. Did he and his administration at long last step away from old fears and unworthy grudges to support the ICC? Or was it France? French troops are in Chad and CAR. Sarkozy's words about Darfur have been among the most passionate from a world leader. Or perhaps England? Gordon Brown, where are you? Awfully silent on the big issues these days. Not much hope there. No ladies and gentlemen, it is none of the above. The voice of conscience in the United Nations Security Council is Costa Rica's Bruno Stagno Ugarte!!
And what can we think of the rest of them? If not now, when would they stand up? Under what circumstances? I ask this because I'd really like to know. The United Nations has said 'atrocities of the worst kind' are on-going in Darfur, the US government calls it a 'genocide'. I have been there. I do not disagree that this is the apt word. We all know now that hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children have died and are dying -- needlessly. Millions are displaced, barely surviving in wretched camps across Darfur, eastern Chad and CAR where they are dying of hunger, illnesses and they are utterly without protection. What does it take to stand up for them?
Apparently a lot more than this gelatinous body can summon. They come to the SC table not to stand strong for the most imperiled people on earth but cautiously, in oblique ways, they come to serve themselves.
History will note their failure to live up to their responsibility to protect. But that is little comfort to Darfur's people now.