“The Right to protect and the Need for Intervention”3 Success, challenges and constraints in the AU intervention5 Recent Development in the Region8 Conclusion9 References10 Introduction The main purpose of this essay is to conduct an analysis of the crisis in Sudan with particular focus on Darfur.
This analysis has touched different aspects of the conflict including justification for humanitarian interventions on the basis “The Right to Protect” In-depth analysis of constraints, challenges and risks of failure to protect. Additionally; I have also analysed and identified gaps and shortcomings in the United Nations and African Union efforts and their respective mandates to ensure protection of refuges and delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected population.
To write this essay, I have explored and searched for different available materials on the topic in the Library, examined different relevant articles in the journals, news papers and websites. As author, I have strived to maintain neutrality and impartiality. Additionally; phrases and paragraphs coherence and logical order have been given optimum importance in narrating the main section of the essay. Sudan is the biggest Country in Africa, width multiple religious, ethnic and socio-economic divides between Muslims and Christians, Arab and African, nomad and farmer.
Sudan is confronting with three main conflicts i. e. the south, Darfur (west) and east which reflects these to varying degrees, aggravated by struggles over natural resources. Though oil was discovered in southern Sudan in 1978, the majority of Sudanese remain desperately poor. [pic] Sudan’s longest civil war began in 1983, largely using the Muslim north against the Christian and Animist south, and killing at least 2 million people and displacing a further 4 million.
Over time, it developed into a national conflict, with the rebels incorporating large groups of Muslims from throughout the north, and the government allying with many non Muslim southerners (Iyob,Khadiagala, 2006). The north-south war formally ended in January 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which incorporated the former rebel group, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) into a Government of National Unity (GNU).
Deliberate barrier of the CPA implementation by the NCP, particularly the areas of Abyei, oil revenue sharing and the demarcation of the north-south border, are putting the hard fought peace at risk. In eastern Sudan, a peace agreement (the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement-ESPA) between the Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front rebel group was signed in Asmara in October 2006. In mid 2003, the struggle for land and power in the western region of Darfur intensified, with government supported Arab Janjaweed militia undertaking a policy of ethnic cleansing towards the civilian population of African Tribes.
The attacks by the government forces and allied militias led to the deaths of over 200,000 Darfurians and the displacement of over 2 million. Despite the deployment of the African Union Mission (AMIS) in Sudan in 2004, the security situation in Darfur continued to deteriorate as attacks on civilian continued compounded by fighting between rebel factions and an escalating proxy war between Sudan and Chad. A peace agreement was signed by the government and one faction of the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) in May 2006 which happened after several round of peace talks. (Waal, 2007)
In the second half of 2006 attacks on civilian and NGO workers increased dramatically and security dropped to its lowest level since beginning of the conflict. Despite faltering international pressure, Khartoum continued to resist the presence of a UN peacekeeping force to support the African Union (AU) troops already deployed in the region. ( Crisis Group Report) When the Darfur conflict between the government of Sudan and armed rebel groups broke out in 2003, the attention of the world was focused on the United nations(UN) and the newly formed African Union(AU) to see how they would respond to the biggest humanitarian crisis.
Darfur presented the International community with a golden opportunity to put into action the resolve made after the Rwanda genocide of 1994 to “never let another Rwanda take place”, A lot was expected from the UN in terms of using its abundant experience in building peace, from the western countries to provide technical and financial support for the operation; and from the newly emerging AU to learn fast how to undertake rescue mission. The Right to protect and the Need for Intervention” In view of the killings and sufferings of the Darfurian, this conflict has now entered in to a very critical situation due to the humanitarian intervention by the UN and AU. This essay will review the case for intervention and analyse the lesson learnt, best practices, gaps and shortcomings.
The deliberation and discussion continued among the international community that in what situation, when and how outsider could be entitled to use force to protect people from their own governments? Do international community, the UN and states have a legal or moral right to intervene in such? There different statistics and reports available which shows that in the twentieth century the number of people died in the war between states are less than the number of people killed by their own governments.
When more than 2. 2 million people in Darfur internally displaced and over 200,000 were compelled to live as refugees in Chad, government forces and government backed militia attacking displacement camps, rebel groups have splintered into numerous factions, and increasing insecurity has been forced more civilian to flee their homes (Crisis Group Report), hence the International Community including the United Nations remained largely concerned over the civilian protection in Darfur.
The debate about the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention was a turning pot on the issue of sovereignty, self determination and the use of force in Darfur in view of the universal human rights. In response to such concerns, in April 2004 the UN Commission on Human Rights dispatched a fact finding mission to Darfur. It found ,a disturbing pattern of disregard for basic principles of human rights and humanitarian law for which the armed forces of the Sudan and the Janjaweed are responsible’( UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 2004:3).
The team concluded that’ it is clear that there is a reign of terror in Darfur’ and that the government and its proxies were almost certainly guilty of widespread crimes, however, before could vote on a resolution based on the draft report, its content was leaked to the press. Pakistan and Sudan condemned the leak and called for an immediate inquiry. Unwilling to force the issue, and concerned that a strongly worded resolution would be rejected by the Commission’ African and Asian members, the EU members watered down a draft resolution they had been preparing.
The redrafted resolution neither condemned Sudan nor mentioned its crimes. It was passed with fifty votes in favour and only three against (Australia, Ukraine, and United Sates). The underlying dynamics of the Security Council’s attitude to Darfur became obvious when it met on 11 June 2004 to unanimously pass Resolution 1547. This resolution expressed the Council’s willingness to authorise a peace operation to oversee the so called Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the government of Sudan and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M).
Although the resolution did not relate to Darfur, some Council members nevertheless reaffirmed Sudanese sovereignty and expressed deep scepticism about humanitarian intervention. Pakistan, for instance, reminded the Council that this was not the view of an isolated minority in the Council was demonstrated by the fact that the resolution’s drafters felt it necessary to insert a passage ‘reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty, independence and unity of Sudan’ (Resolution. 1547,11, June 2004).
Pakistan, China, and Russia believed that the scale of human suffering in Darfur was insufficient to provoke serious reflection on whether Sudan was fulfilling its responsibilities to its citizens, and the US, UK, and France was reluctant to force them to do so. The western democracies that contributed to the 11 June debate made pointed remarks about the Darfur emergency and tacitly referred to the Commission of crime against humanity and war crimes, yet none of these states cast doubts on Sudanese sovereignty.
Germany, for instance noted that peace in Sudan was indivisible and required an end to the sweeping and widespread human rights violations’ without suggesting how this might be achieved. Similarly, the United States pointed towards a series of human rights abuses in Darfur but simply confirmed its support for the AU initiatives. This pattern was repeated on 30 July 2004, when the council met to pass Resolution 1556.
Three positions were put forward during Council’s deliberations. The first view, articulated by the Philippines, was that Sudan had failed in its duty to protect its citizens and that international action was warranted. At the other end the resolution was opposed by China, Pakistan, and Sudan and they collectively rejected intervention on sovereignty grounds, while Brazil and Russia were reluctant to even weigh up the question.
China abstained in the vote, complaining that the resolution alluded to mandatory measures against the Sudanese government, while Pakistan argued that it did not believe that the threat or imposition of sanction against Sudan was advisable (Waal 2007). The two countries i. e. China and Pakistan opposing the intervention, and its support to the government of Sudan could be probably due to their interest in the vast resources including oil and arms trading with Sudan.
New York Time quotes in its Colum on the Chinese influence in the region “Amid the international outrage over the bloodshed in Darfur, frustration has increasingly turned toward China, Sudan’ biggest trading partner and international protection, for all of China’s billion –dollar oil contracts, multimillion-dollar arms shipments and Security Council veto protection of Sudan, the global power with the biggest influence over the country has scarcely a dime invested here, has no ambassador on Sudan soil and has slapped progressively tougher sanctions on its government: the United States” (New York Time, 2008) For its part, Sudanese government made a restrictions argument that western states were abusing humanitarian justification to legitimise neo colonial interference in the affairs of weak. As Sudan’s ambassador asked the council, would his country have been safe from the hammer of Security Council even if there had been no crisis in Darfur, and whether the Darfur humanitarian crisis might not be a Trojan horse? Has this lofty humanitarian objective been adopted and embraced by other people who are advocating a hidden agenda?. The resolution’s sponsors and their supporter s adopted a line between these two positions. The US, UK, Germany, Chile and Spain implied that Darfur’s civilians should be protected without suggesting that the Security Council should accept that responsibility(Bellamy, 2005).
In the face of Khartoum’s continuing opposition, on 31 August 2006 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1706, which invited Sudan’s consent to a UN force implying that if consent was not forthcoming, such a force might be dispatched without it. The following week, President Omar al Bashir called the bluff of the US and UN Security Council by rejecting Resolution 1706. Bashir decided to draw a red line, and further tied down international politics efforts on the details of the international force. A comprehensive proposal for a hybrid AU-UN force was floated by the United States and China and adopted at a high level meeting chaired by the UN Secretary General on 16 November 2006.
After another eight months of internal strife, the Security Council finally obtained Sudan’s consent to the hybrid AU-UN force, the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which was duly mandated in the Resolution 1769 of 31 July 2007, with its mandate, structure, size and talks determined with reference to a joint UN-AU assessment (Waal, 2007). Success, challenges and constraints in the AU intervention It has been five years since the Darfur crisis was brought t5o the attention of the international community and African Union, and they were pushed to respond. It took more than three years to partner with the AU to try to end the suffering of the people of Darfur. During the period of its intervention, the AU was criticized for its performance, particularly its weakness in providing greater protection for the civilian population and implementing the peace agreement that was reached in May 2006.
Before that UN assume a peace support role in Darfur, the AU, with very limited resources and no substantive experience in peacekeeping, tried to fill the vacuum created due to international inaction, to protect civilians victimised by a failing state. Initially the AU’s role was primarily to protect its military observers who were monitoring a humanitarian ceasefire agreement signed in April 2004 between the Government of Sudan and Darfur rebels. In 2005, a report released by the Brookings institution- University of Bern Project on Internal Displacement pointed out that, contrary to popular belief, the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) made a significant difference in the region.
Within a year of its presence in the region, AMIS “deterred the rape of women, reduced the recruitment of children into armed forces, protected humanitarian corridors and aid convoys, reduced the looting of animals’ belonging to Arab nomads, and helped displaced persons who returned to their homes. However, the ability of the AU to provide more protection of civilians was undermined by a lack of troops and police, a weak mandate, and limited equipments. According to the last AU force commander, Martin Luther Agwai, his troops were outgunned and outnumbered by rebels and militants in Darfur. AMIS never reached its full authorised strength of 15,000 for a number of reasons. Some of African countries preferred to contribute their troops to the more lucrative UN mission that reimbursed countries for their troop contributions. Others calculated the costs and risks, and found them to outweigh the benefits.
Although AU visibility through patrols deterred violence against civilian by the Janjaweed militias and other armed groups, it was too thinly spread to be able to restore a secure situation throughout Darfur. It is also noteworthy that AMIS was not able to create a safe environment for the return of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and refugees after more than three years of deployment. Au under its Article 4(h) and 4(j) of its Constitutive Act committed itself to protect civilian population against war crimes, genocide and crime against humanity. However, the implementation of this praiseworthy intention of protecting civilians has a number of complications. In the first instance, its application is meant for civilian in weak states.
The AU could only intervene where a complex emergency threatens the lives of civilians and the government asks for assistance. In the second instance, the AU could intervene in a complex emergency that has resulted in a state failing to protect its civilian and exposing them to severe suffering. In the former case, the AU has to be invited, while in the later case it can intervene on its own. In either case, the process lacks precise reasons and criterion for justifying action and is facing a number of challenges and barriers. For example, there is no threshold laid down on the number of civilian casualties that can prompt the AU to take action. The Type of Assistance that a weak state can receive when faced by a complex emergency is not specified.
This means that such as Sudan can request AU to boost its capacity to restrain rebellion in Darfur, thereby reinforcing its security apparatus to maintain law and order. In other words, Articles 4(h) and 4(j) could only have been invoked if the state of Sudan has been deemed as collapsed, as Somalia was in 1991 after ouster of Siad Barre, or if it had requested the AU to intervene on its behalf to quell the Darfur uprising. This partly explains why the AU and the UN peacekeeping mandates were crafted to recognise Sudan’s sovereignty and empower it to determine the nature and level of the mission. The second instance would have arisen from defining the situation in Darfur and categorising it in a way that would enable an AU intervention.
Besides lacking a definition that provides criteria for intervention, the trigger mechanisms themselves are not established or stipulated in the rules of procedure of the Assembly that has the authority to invoke this clause. Assuming that the criteria for intervention were there, activation of the clause would have required enormous political will, which the AU lacked at the time. Assuming further that the will was available, the nascent organisation still had no human and financial resources to enable it to undertake such an ambitious and almost impossible task, as its member states lacked the requisite force, capabilities, logistical capacity and equipment to launch a rescue operation.
Although the US, NATO and the EU footed the bill for AMIS, and provided its troops with extensive training and uniforms, this support did not initially include force multipliers like armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and the helicopters that were desperately needed. Certainly the AU did not have a force that was ready for deployment in real conflict situation. The African peace and security architecture that calls for regional peacekeeping brigades was still on the drawing table. Allowing the two year old AU to intervene in Darfur was tantamount to allowing a child to contain a neighbourhood disturbance or flying a prototype airplane that was still on the drawing board.
The greatest need for AMIS was its quick transformation into a UN operation. AMIS should never have been in Darfur for more than one year. The international community should, by the end of 2004, have taken the responsibility of aiding Darfuris with a real protection force, with adequate equipments and a robust mandate aimed at ending the conflict and rebuilding the livelihood for the local populations. Darfur needed an international solution due to the complicity of some international actors and lack of African capability and political will to end the crisis. (Waal, 2007) During the AU intervention in Darfur, the international community made a number of grievous mistakes.
Among these was the false assumption that there are “African solutions to African problems”. The second was the misplaced notion that the AU, despite its good will and stated intentions, had the capability to protect civilians in complex emergencies. Third, the use of phrases such as “genocide”, “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect” should have been used with care so as not to render them meaningless (Williams, 2008) This does not mean, however , that silence or excessive caution should be the new mantra, as it could lead to a game and semantics as witnessed during the Rwanda genocide and in the second half of 2004 when the US and AU disagreed on whether to call what was happening in Darfur genocide.
The AU peace and Security Council issued a statement in 2004, called that even though the crisis in Darfur is grave, with the attendant loss of lives, human suffering and destruction of homes and infrastructure, the situation can not be defined as genocide. The US went ahead in September 2004 to label the situation in Darfur “genocide” but stopped at that despite the international law that obliges states to act when they deem that genocide is taking place. The fact that the US called the situation in Darfur genocide but did not take action to stop it contributed to the confusion over how the international l community should address it. Considering the nature of the conflict, it was not advisable to call the horrendous acts taking place genocide. Since the group fighting each other were not Arabs versus Africans, as was then understood in the West.
The crimes against humanity being committed in Darfur should have been classified as war crimes rather than genocide or ethnic cleansing which have very high defining criteria. This was also the coclusion of a UN panel, which in January 2005 “established that the Goverment of Sudan and the janjaweed are responsible for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law amounting to crimes under international law”. On the issue of genocide, the UN panel found that some individuals including government officials may have committed acts with genocide intent but it could not conclude that there was a genocide policy being pursued and implemented in Darfur by the government authorities.
Interestingly enough, the AU formation was heralded as turning point in Africa’s international relations simply because it adopted the radical objective of intervening in a member state where grave circumstances, such as war crimes, genocides or crime against humanity, were taking place. Despite giving itself the political bite to stem nasty human rights violations such as those took place in Rwanda in 1994, it was still teething when Darfur happened. By that time, the AU could have been said to be a lactating baby. Additionally, it had inherited some of the bad genes of its predecessor, the organisation of African Unity (OAU) which turned out be costly. This critical assessment of responsibility should not be misconstrued as a blame game but rather as aiding a comprehensive understanding of why Darfur was allowed to happen.
Unless such a critical assessment is undertaken, we should not be surprised to hear more rhetorical proclamations of Never Again such an assessment would greatly assist the AU to fully understand its sever limitations and to expeditiously set up its peace and security architecture, which includes the international community, particularly the UN as a key player in the promotion of peace and security in Africa. The full establishment of the AU peace and security architecture should ensure that the broader international community does not hide behind the cliche of African solutions to African problems to shy away from its responsibilities. At the beginning, AMIS appeared to be a “win-win” arrangement for Africa and the international community. The AU was able to showcase itself as being different from its toothless predecessor, the OAU, by putting into practice its newly coined phrase from non interference to non indifference.
Recast under the mantra of African solutions to African problems, this newly acquired principle allowed the international community to disown responsibility and gave the government of Sudan an opportunity to keep the UN at bay and to manipulate African countries weaknesses, particularly in the processes of making and implementing decisions. The AU lost a golden opportunity to establish its peace and security architecture and thousands of Darfuraians lost their lives and livelihoods through displacement, violence and death. Now that AMIS has been transformed into the hybrid United Nations –African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has the situation improved? Since its launch in 2007, UNAMID has struggled to transform conditions on the ground.
The ability of UNAMID to help bring peace, security and justice to Darfur is being severely undermined by almost the same obstacles that confined AMIS. Integration of AMIS into UNAMID had a number of problems. The Assumption that AMIS was to provide the experience on which to build the hybrid force proved to be costly and has continued to plague the joint mission. For example there has been problem s related to the compatibility of the UN and AU systems, standard operating procedures and organisational cultures. For UNAMID success, it would need change in its approach in dealing with the conflict; UNAMID should focus more on finding a political solutions rather than a military one. The new approach must aim at eeking a solution at the negating table rather than on the battlefield; revising the DPA to be acceptable to all parties in the conflict; and establishing a positive rather than negative peace that is establishing a peace that includes comprehensive political, economic and social solutions. The cost of peacekeeping in Darfur has raised eyebrows and led to the former chairperson of the A commission, Alpha Oumar Konare to question the rationale of spending billions of dollars on maintaining UNAMID instead of spending it on the development of the region(Crisis Group Report). Both AMIS and UNAMID have proven that intervening to protect civilians in Africa, and elsewhere, needs more than good intension. Darfur has been a critical test of Africa’s ability to protect civilian in complex emergencies and also an opportunity to build its peace and security architecture.
It also presented with an opportunity to forge genuine partnership with the international community in order to promote peace and security in Africa. The success of this partnership could substantially contribute to the AU’s ability to resolve future complex emergencies in Africa. The International Criminal Court decision for issuing a warrant arrest for the Sudanese President, Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur is considered a good step and would compelled Sudanese government to cooperate with UNAMID and other humanitarian actors on the ground. The Sudanese government must exercise restraint in its response to the ICC decision and ensure that its action do not undermine the opportunity to achieve pace in Sudan.
It must also take genuine steps to transform the political institutions and politics that drive conflict in Sudan (Crisis Group Report, 2009) Recent Development in the Region The future of Darfur will, to a large extent, be determined by a political solution reached through negotiations, as well as by Khartoum’s ability to keep the Janjaweed satisfied, to hold on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) so that it collapse does not unite the south with Darfur, to deal with International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant against President al Bashir, and to normalize it’s relations with neighbouring Chad. Ultimately, the real solution lies in ending the marginalisation of the Darfur region, equitably istributing national resources, guaranteeing land rights to indigenous populations, promoting a culture of respects for human rights, and reforming the state to enable it to govern well and provide human security for all its citizens regardless of their ethnicity, race, creed or region. On July 30, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to keep the joint UN-African Union force in Darfur region for another year until July 31, 2010 to ensure the protection of civilian and ensure “safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access”. Sudan is currently undertaking registration for the national elections, which is scheduled to take place in April 2010. There are number of significant challenges ahead, including agreement on the census results, clarification on constituency boundaries limitation, and completion of the registration process.
A debate must also take place on what was required to hold inclusive elections in Darfur, as a number of Darfur groups, including internally displaced persons, continued to express their concerns about holding elections before the conclusion of a peace agreement. The refusal by some armed movements to take part in political dialogue and the present divisions could hamper the peace process. No strong diplomatic pressure has been put in place on those who had so far refused to join the peace process. Darfur peace talks, which were launched on 18 November 2009 in Doha, Qatar, would include both a dialogue between different parts of Drafurian Society and direct negotiations between the belligerent parties. Those talks aimed to find a comprehensive resolution to the underlying causes of the crisis, to overcome inter communal hatred caused by war, and to accelerate socio economic development. Conclusion
In the below a concluding brief summary has been provided on the justification for and main challenges, constraints and gaps in the humanitarian intervention in Darfur based on the principle “The Right to Protect”. The attacks by the government forces and allied militias led to the deaths of over 200,000 Darfurians and the displacement of over 2 million. Despite the deployment of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in 2004, the security situation in Darfur continued to deteriorate as attacks on civilian continued, compounded by fighting between rebel factions, and an escalating proxy war between Sudan and Chad. Hence the International Community, including the United Nations remained greatly concerned over the civilians’ protection in Darfur.
The debate about the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention was a turning point on the issue of sovereignty, self-determination, and the use of force in Darfur in view of the evolving universal human rights. A compromise proposal for a “hybrid” AU-UN force was glided by the United States and China, and adopted at high level meeting, chaired by the UN Secretary General on November 16, 2006. After another eight months of internal strife, the Security Council finally obtained Sudan’s consent to the hybrid AU-UN force, the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which was duly mandated in the Resolution 1769 of 31st July 2007, with its mandate, structure, size and talks determined with reference to a joint UN-AU assessment.
The ability of UNAMID to help bring peace, security and justice to Darfur is being severely undermined by almost the same obstacles that confined AMIS: weak mandate, lack of equipment, poor training and lack of the support necessary to carry out its mission. UNAMID lacks logistics, medical gear, night vision equipment, heavy transport, medium transport and aerial reconnaissance. Western countries reluctance to provide helicopters is their lack of confidence in the structure of UNAMID. This critical assessment of responsibility should not be misinterpreted as a blame game but rather as aiding a comprehensive understanding of why Darfur was allowed to happen. Unless such a critical assessment is undertaken, we should not be surprised to hear more rhetorical contention of “Never Again”.
The full establishment of AU peace and security architecture should ensure that the broader international community does not hide behind the cliche of “African Solutions to African problems” to shy away from its responsibilities. The International Criminal Court decision for issuing a warrant arrest for the Sudanese President, Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur is considered a good step and would compelled Sudanese government to cooperate with UNAMID and other humanitarian actors on the ground. The Sudanese government must exercise restraint in its response to the ICC decision and ensure that its action do not undermine the opportunity to achieve pace in Sudan. It must also take genuine steps to transform the political institutions and politics that drive conflict in Sudan. For UNAMID to succeed, a change of approach n dealing with conflict, putting more emphasis on a political rather than a military solution including establishing a positive, rather than a negative, peace that is, establishing a peace that includes comprehensive political, economic and social solutions. Additionally; International Community should work with different parties into the conflict for finding a durable and sustain peace in Darfur. Eventually, the absolute resolution of the conflict would emerge through ending the marginalisation of the Darfur region, reasonably distributing national resources, guaranteeing in land rights to indigenous populations, promoting a culture of respect for human rights, and reforms for good governance so that the sate provide human security for all its citizens regardless of their tribe, ethnic background, faith, and race or section and region.
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