THE ICC WONT LET THEM BE. The International Criminal Court just issued its first arrest warrants for suspected war crimes in Darfur. Two people, a janjaweed commander and a Sudanese government official, are wanted for trial in The Hague. As the ICC does not have a Marshall Service of its own, whether or not these two face trial will depend on how strong the international community is willing to press Sudan on this issue.
For our part, these warrants place American officials in a somewhat awkward spot. Law forbids American cooperation with the ICC absent a presidential waver, and as late as last month sources have told me that government agencies were still deciding on whether or not to cooperate with the court on Darfur. The United States, remember, is not party to the court. And back in March 2005 when the issue of granting the ICC jurisdiction in Sudan came up in the Security Council, the United States abstained from the vote. At the time, the U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes, Pierre-Richard Prosper explained the administration's hostility to this issue in strictly ideological terms, saying "we do not want to be party to legitimizing the ICC."
In coming Security Council debates I will be curious to see whether or not the United States has softened its position and is now willing to get behind a resolution demanding Khartoum to hand over these suspects for trial in The Hague.
--Mark Leon Goldberg