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Peace and Punishment in the Papers

Two op-eds this week take on the issue of peace and justice in Sudan, a popular topic lately because of the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir today.

In the New York Times, Desmond Tutu, the well-known Nobel Peace Prize winner of South Africa, wrote about the need for African leaders to support the arrest of Bashir.  "Because the victims in Sudan are African," Tutu writes, "African leaders should be the staunchest supporters of efforts to see perpetrators brought to account."  

His final words are worth sharing: 

The issuance of an arrest warrant for President Bashir would be an extraordinary moment for the people of Sudan — and for those around the world who have come to doubt that powerful people and governments can be called to account for inhumane acts. African leaders should support this historic occasion, not work to subvert it.

Tutu takes on Africa’s leaders, and in the San-Diego Union Tribune, John Prendergast and Omar Ismail take on the academics and diplomats speaking out against the arrest warrant:

According to the arm-chair academics and Chicken Littles, the move by the ICC – its first charges against a sitting president in that institution’s young history – will make peace impossible. Beyond the basic ridiculousness of the argument that we should not act against war criminals for fear of upsetting them, this line of reasoning is painfully detached from the reality on the ground.

Prendergast, Ismail, and Tutu are looking to tomorrow’s news with renewed hope, and we should too.  In just a few minutes, the ICC will hold a press conference at the Hague on its decision on the arrest warrant for Bashir.  You can watch it online here at 8 am EST, a chance to watch history being made. 

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