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Sudanese President Charged With Genocide: Guernica Offers Two Views on Darfur

July 21, 2010

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) has charged Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, with genocide against ethnic groups in Darfur. This was the first time in the court’s history that it charged a sitting head of state with this crime. The charge is a victory for the U.S., one of the only countries that deemed the violent actions of Al-Bashir’s janjaweed militias genocidal. Since 2003, it is estimated that over 300,000 people died and two million were displaced in the conflict in Sudan.

This is the second arrest warrant that the ICC has issued for Al-Bashir. When the first was issued in March 2009, for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Guernica interviewed the ICC’s Argentinean lead prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo. Ocampo is also the lead prosecutor in the more recent genocide case. In the interview, he discusses the ICC’s mandate for issuing warrant and their plan to work with local Sudanese law enforcement to finally give Al-Bashir his day in court. Read this interview here.

Two months later, Guernica interviewed Mahmood Mamdani, a Columbia professor who doesn’t think that the conflict in Darfur should be called a genocide. He lashes out against the prominent Save Darfur movement, saying, “I think the core of the argument is very ahistorical. It’s about Darfur as a site of evil; the narrative is structured around a documentation of atrocities, around a graphic description of atrocities, which you can see on the Save Darfur website —killings, rape, burnings of villages. I think the striking thing about the narrative is there is no attempt to explain what leads to these atrocities.“ Read this interview here.

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