Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir in Ethiopia, 2009. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Attempts to isolate and marginalize Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir have been mixed at best. The man many people believe is ultimately responsible for the violence and misery of Darfur – and who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for it – has worked tirelessly to show that, as a head of state, he can still galavant across the globe to international conferences and state meetings.
Of course, Bashir hasn’t always been able to go wherever he wants. He hasn’t visited a ‘Western’ state since he was indicted by the ICC in 2008. While he has visited ICC member-states, notably Chad and Kenya in 2010, he is still severely constrained in his movements and Malawi, a member-state which originally let him visit in 2011, has since declared that he is unable to do so again.
As many readers will know, the marginalization of perpetrators of atrocities is a central argument for proponents of international criminal justice. In brief, the argument suggests that investigations and the issuance of arrest warrants against international criminals will isolate them, both within their networks of power such as a government or a rebel group as well as within the international context. In the long-run, it is hoped that this marginalization can ultimately fill the docks of international criminal tribunals and deter the commission of crimes. » More
Zambian President Sata meets Malawian President Mutharika in South Africa. Picture courtesy of ZodiakOnline
Years of diplomatic incidents between Malawi and Zambia culminated recently in Zambia’s donation of five million liters of fuel to Malawi. The gift was ostensibly for the funeral of the country’s late President Bingu wa Mutharika, who died on 5 April 2012, after a heart attack. The political wrangling that has led up to this gesture, however, has a complicated backstory.
In 2007, Michael Sata – then the Zambian opposition leader – travelled to Malawi for a private visit, but was deported on arrival at Chileka Airport and driven 400 kilometers back to Zambia. Four years later, Sata was elected Zambia’s president.
At the time of his deportation from Malawi, Sata reportedly joked that Bingu had given him a fully fueled Lexus GX with a private chauffer (i.e., the immigration officer) for the journey, which was far more than Levy Mwanawasa, then the President of Zambia and Sata’s political opponent, had ever done. » More
Sometimes there are articles that simply get under my skin and that create a pesky need to address them individually. John Deverell’s op-ed in The Guardian, There’s no shame in talking to people like Gaddafi, was one of those pieces.
Deverell is a British military figure who notes, with obvious pride, that he was involved in negotiations between the UK and Gaddafi. He is frustrated with a trend of criticizing the British government and institutions over their relationship with Gaddafi:
“it has become politically expedient to decry the relationship fostered since 2003 between the last British government and Gaddafi’s regime.
Former prime minister Tony Blair, officers from the British secret intelligence service, the London School of Economics ( in the news again last week): all have been criticised for the personal relationships they built with senior Libyans, to the extent of being accused of turning a blind eye to human rights and other abuses.”