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China tries to let Bashir off the hook

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China tries to let Bashir off the hook

Posted by Enough Team on January 9, 2009

China tries to let Bashir off the hook

On January 7, Beijing’s Special Envoy to Sudan Liu Guijin told reporters that China wants to postpone the indictment of Sudanese President Bashir “so the international community could have more time to address the problem.”

“More time” is precisely what Darfur’s over two million and counting displaced residents cannot afford. President Bashir has a record of directing his military forces and proxy militias to systematically target civilians not only in Darfur but throughout Sudan. Absent significant changes in the behavior of his government, civilians will continue to suffer and be targeted by government attacks.

Back in July 2008, when China was encouraging the UN Security Council to suspend the ICC’s investigation of President Bashir, then-UN Ambassador Wang Guangya argued that the proposed indictment would "seriously undermine the mutual political trust and cooperation between the UN and the Sudanese government."

Trust? Cooperation? Evidently Ambassador Guangya is reading different reports than the rest of us. And, why, as the “To Africa, From New York…” blog wondered, should the Security Council believe Bashir now that he has changed his tune and begun to make claims that he will cooperate with UNAMID and engage in a new peace initiative for Darfur?

Thankfully, it is increasingly unlikely that the Security Council will invoke Article 16 to postpone the indictment of President Bashir, which is expected to be issued by the Court next month.