Sudan’s significantly delayed national elections, now scheduled for February 2010, have been very poorly supported by the international community and are at risk of even further delay. A host of technical, logistical, administrative, as well as legal and policy issues have yet to be resolved. A complex electoral calendar is far behind schedule in many critical respects, even as the rainy season has begun in both Southern Sudan and Darfur; this will badly hinder the critical task of effective voter registration, only now getting underway. The Sudanese census seems badly skewed in some of its results, and was conducted with far too little international supervision. Census issues are critical in determining legislative power in the National Assembly that will be formed on the basis of elections less than eight months from now. An abuse of illegitimate and excessive legislative power by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) could result in a pernicious re-writing of the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA; 2005), which stipulated the current elections and legislative make-up—or amendments to the Interim National Constitution could be passed with the same effect.
Elections in Darfur amidst the current violence, insecurity, and displacement are hopelessly problematic, and it is highly doubtful that anything resembling a representative vote will take place. The electoral process may break down entirely, allowing the NIF/NCP a free hand in construing the Darfur results how they will. Violence in the South has also accelerated in recent months, and President Salva Kiir of the Government of South Sudan has a good deal of evidence for his recent ominous remarks, hinting at Khartoum’s stoking of ethnic and tribal tensions:
In conclusion the AU member states are still supportive of the ICC, but realize that there is need for a coordinated cooperative effort between the two institutions.
Meaning it supports the death of 12 suspected rebels, but would prefer not to punish the man responsible for incomprehensible acts against humanity – if that is what you want to call it.
However, it falls upon both institutions to make concerted efforts towards cooperation, which would facilitate the work of the Court and advance the regional body’s commitment to fighting impunity and to achieving international justice for victims of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. It is necessary to fast track the request by the ICC to open a liaison office within the AU, and the signing of an agreement between the two institutions which has been pending for years now. The court should also be seen to operate in a way that it is not partisan. This can only be achieved through proper outreach activities and engagement with the AU and in particular the States Parties. Enhanced outreach activities for the Court are inevitable if it has to further its momentum in Africa.