On the eve of the increasingly probable issuance of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, two opinion pieces discussing the issue appear in the New York Times. South African clergyman and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu has an incredible opinion piece in support of ICC action that rebuts arguments, such as the one put forth in an editorial by Franklin Graham, that “The removal of Mr. Bashir will make it harder to negotiate an end to the crisis in Sudan.”
Graham, the president of the evangelical relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, seems to insinuate that because Bashir addressed a handful of peripheral concerns voiced by influential Americans, he is a rational actor, and that he is a necessary component of any lasting peace despite the atrocities he has perpetrated. In combating that point of view, Tutu writes,
“There can be no real peace and security until justice is enjoyed by the inhabitants of the land. There is no peace precisely because there had been no justice. As painful and inconvenient as justice may be, we have seen that the alternative – allowing accountability to fall by the wayside – is worse.”
Enough has been a vociferous advocate of Tutu’s position that the peace vs. justice debate constitutes a false choice, and that justice is a necessary component of any peace effort in Sudan.
Tutu is one of the best known and regarded human rights activists in the world. His experience with truth and reconciliation as well as his gravitas makes his calls for justice in Sudan all the more powerful.
John Norris contributed to this post.