CJR Daily reports on a scuttled UN Security Council briefing by Juan Mendez, special adviser to the Secretary General:
One of the accusations Mendez was going to make before the council — and then made only to reporters — was that the Sudanese government was not cooperating with the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court looking into alleged war crimes in Darfur. In April, the U.S., by abstaining from a Security Council vote, gave the ICC jurisdiction over crimes committed in Darfur, and in today’s Post article, a “senior U.S. official” said that Bolton’s actions yesterday had nothing to do with his opposition to the tribunal. But Bolton has been a fierce critic of the ICC, trying to drown it whenever he can.
Meanwhile, things are truly degenerating in Darfur. The African Union, which was supposed to take charge of the situation, has been largely ineffective. Government-backed militias have been raiding refugee camps, often disguised as African Union soldiers. On Saturday, rebels killed two African Union troops and two contractors and a day later kidnapped 38 other peacekeepers.
Why didn’t he make the briefing to the Security Council?
John Bolton, the American ambassador to the United Nations, blocked a United Nations envoy on Monday from briefing the Security Council on rights violations in the Darfur region of Sudan, saying the Council had to act against atrocities and not just talk about them.
Doing more is an excellent idea, as is hearing what there is to do something about from the observers on the scene.
To block it, Bolton – and by extension the United States and you and me – made buddies with Russia, China and Algeria, known lovers of human rights in all its forms. The other three were all hoping to make friends with the warlords and oil barons in Khartoum and prevent a precedent on genocide and human rights. And we made it that much harder to press China on human rights, and made it easier for the KGB agent running Russia to be lax on establishing guarantees of rights.
And Sam Brownback, one of the few men in Washington who has actually paid attention to Darfur, approved the man who scuttled a briefing on the escalating crisis there. And in his hopeless quest for the White House, he can’t be bothered with the issues that he could actually make a difference on.