“‘peace and justice’ template has become a ‘peace versus justice’ dichotomy..”

Freelance journalist Simon Roughneen has a very interesting assessment of the situation in Sudan, and Chad, following the IIC filing of charges against Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir yesterday. And he starts by echoing something we’ve mentioned on Slugger previously. From the Irish Times

The “peace and justice” template has become a “peace versus justice” dichotomy, as immediate-term political realities prompt less idealistic observers to question the efficacy of courts and tribunals intervening in real-time conflicts.

Simon Roughneen goes on to say

Whatever security fallout ensues, it is likely to be regional, with implications for Ireland. A senior Sudanese official said as much to the state news agency Suna after the ICC announcement yesterday. In the mix are Irish and other European troops, deployed to Chad and the Central African Republic to address the human fallout from Darfur’s tragedy. Leaving aside revenge conspiracies targetting Eufor, the al-Bashir backlash will resonate across the border into Chad in any case, given that these conflicts are inextricably linked.

But he ends on a note of “cautious optimism”.

However, there is some reason for cautious optimism. With ICC judges to spend the next three months considering the merits of prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s case against al-Bashir before deciding on how to proceed, we may see Chinese-induced pledges of co-operation and good behaviour from the president, and an ensuing bout of horse-trading over political negotiations in Sudan, and vis-a-vis the UN/AU force in Darfur.

The NIF has a history of responding to real sticks, even if only to save its own skin, as per the concerted US pressure that led to the 2005 north-south peace deal, when al-Bashir worried that his links to Osama bin Laden could spark American-backed regime change.

Maybe, just maybe, the ICC charges could prompt a volte face by the NIF leadership, not least as patron China will not want adverse publicity in the weeks leading up to its showcase Beijing Olympics.

Go read the whole thing.

Adds At openDemocracy Alex de Waal has a fascinating round-up of the arguments for and against the prosecutor’s decision to apply for an indictment of the Sudanese President – it’s the summation of a month long debate hosted at the Social Science Research Council blog.