Sudan’s Regional Exclusion: An institutional Problem in Darfur causes Violence

The displacement of 50,000 people in Sudan’s Darfur region since February has left the international community concerned about a resurgence in violence between the government and rebel forces. Since the rebels have taken up arms in 2003, an estimated 2 million people have been displaced. To account for this, there are three major components to the violence and each of them contributes to our understanding of the conflict. There is the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) warrant for the arrest of Sudan’s president Omar Al Bashir on legitimate claims of genocide in Darfur. Likewise, we also have to take into account the existence of the rebels and their grievances and finally there are structural challenges that leave the government unable to possess a monopoly over the use of force within its borders.

The exclusionary politics of Omar Al Bashir was met in 2003 with rebels taking up arms against the government. Since then, many have died and even more have fled for their lives. The exclusive nature of politics, redistribution and representation is reason enough for rebels to demand these things as well as autonomy for their region. The president, a foremost expert in repression and in the avoidance of international norms and human rights, has a strong military grip on the country and uses it at will. This has generated hatred not only in the country but also internationally. Hatred however, is not a sufficient condition for the international community to take serious action. The international community is well aware of the track record of Omar Al Bashir and through the ICC has issued warrants of arrest on multiple occasions.

The failure of the ICC to follow through with its warrants, have been a result of the conditions and rules by which they operate. The ICC does not have its own army to go and make arrests for example because of breaches of sovereignty that it would cause. In the same way, the institutional frameworks for citizens in Darfur to effectively express their grievances are highly lacking. In this respect, it is justifiable to have rebels because violence, if used correctly, guarantees a seat at the negotiation tables as recently proven by the SPLA/M of South Sudan in attaining their own nation. This may not always be the goal, but regardless of what it is, the institutional constraints of the ICC and the lack of a strong institutional framework in Darfur and Sudan in general in detaining Bashir for the former and expression for the latter are leaving the country at a huge disadvantage. It would be advantageous for Sudan to spread mechanisms for democratic institutions; something that is very lacking.

The International Community namely the United Nations Secretary General,Ban Kai moon, recently said that he was deeply concerned with escalating violence in the Darfur region. This is by and large a common type of response from international actors to apply pressure but not to act beyond that. Important actors like the US have expressed interest in allowing people to determine their own future within their country and this will continue to be the stance of the international system unless there are deeper interests at stake like economics or regional instability. regardless of where the impetus will come from, whether internally driven or external there is the need to create stronger institutional structures within which all actors (rebels, government, the IC) can operate within Sudan. 

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About Liasor

Professional in the field of international relations, government policy, defense policy, African security policy and crisis management.
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3 Responses to Sudan’s Regional Exclusion: An institutional Problem in Darfur causes Violence

  1. mlevens says:

    From my understanding the ICC warrants rely on the governments that have signed on to the treaty to make the arrest of any individual with warrants and subsequently turn them over to the court. I do believe Al Bashir has entered countries that are signatories of the ICC treaty, but they failed to fulfill their obligations. Some think that this is because the fear the regional instability that could be caused by the removal of a sitting president. If he were to be arrested and turned over to the court while in travelling in a signatory member do you think the stability of the country would decrease at least temporarily due to the immediate power vacuum that would be created? Also, what do you think the role of the International Community in that unlikely scenario should be?

  2. liasor101 says:

    You are correct about the condition that signatories are relied on to make the arrests themselves but remember that Sudan is no longer a signatory. It was at one point but chose to withdraw from the Rome Statute and as such they have no legal obligations to the ICC. So instead of answering your question I pose this one: Under what circumstances will rules apply to you even if you are not a part of that institution? does everyone have to play by the same set of rules regardless of their situation because we are all in the same international order? In regards to the power vacuum, there will indeed be a degree of instability because of the amount of influence that Bashir has had and the length of time he has had it. This however, will not be an existential threat to the country nor will it negatively affect the international community to a large extent. In fact, I believe it will be characteristic of an African country. Part of the reason other countries have not been able to arrest him during his visits is because of international diplomatic rules which these countries abide by.

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