Sunday, October 7, 2007

[wvns] No Genocide in Darfur: Carter

"If you read the law textbooks ... you'll see very clearly that it's
not genocide," said Carter.

No Genocide in Darfur: Carter & Newspapers

CAIRO — The United States is exaggerating when it described the Darfur
conflict as "genocide," former US president Jimmy Carter has said,
warning that the use of the term was legally inaccurate and
"unhelpful," The Christian Science Monitor reported Friday.

"There is a legal definition of genocide and Darfur does not meet that
legal standard. The atrocities were horrible but I don't think it
qualifies to be called genocide," said Carter, a member of the group
of Elders who visited Darfur and included Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
rights advocate Graca Machel, and entrepreneur Richard Branson.

Nobel laureate Carter, whose charitable foundation, the Carter Center,
worked to establish the International Criminal Court (ICC), said: "If
you read the law textbooks ... you'll see very clearly that it's not
genocide and to call it genocide falsely just to exaggerate a horrible
situation I don't think it helps."

Carter said the problems in Darfur need a political solution and
called on participants at crucial peace talks in Libya on October 27
to be patient.

Washington is almost alone in branding the 4 1/2 years of violence in
Darfur genocide.
Khartoum rejects the term, European governments are reluctant to use
it and a UN-appointed commission of inquiry found no genocide.

The World Health Organization has further said the term is much hyped,
but said there is a humanitarian catastrophe in the troubled region.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, genocide is the deliberate and
systematic destruction of a group of people because of their
ethnicity, nationality, religion, or race.
The term, derived from the Greek genos ("race," "tribe," or "nation")
and the Latin cide ("killing"), was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a
Polish-born jurist who served as an adviser to the U.S. Department of
War during World War II.


Brahimi said the West has "pampered" Darfur rebels a lot.
Carter's criticism of the West's handling of the Darfur crisis was
joined by veteran UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who accused the West of
"pampering" the rebels.

"The international community has acted rather irresponsibly on all
this in the past by pampering a lot of these people around - not
really wondering whether they really represented anybody and whether
they were acting responsibly," said Brahimi.

Brahimi warned that the West needs to ensure that the people of Darfur
are properly represented at the talks.

Brahimi also urged a comprehensive peace in Sudan, Africa's largest

"We cannot solve Darfur if the CPA (comprehensive performance
assessment) is crumbling," he said.

Brahimi's and Carter's comments come at the end the Elders' two-day
mission to Sudan.

Wrapping up their visit on Thursday, October 4, the Elders called for
the rapid deployment of a joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in

"It's quite clear to us that the crucial element to end the suffering
of the people of Darfur is for the hybrid force to be deployed as soon
as possible," Tutu told reporters in Khartoum.

His comments followed an attack on African Union peacekeepers in
Darfur last Saturday that left 10 African troops dead, the bloodiest
yet on the struggling AU force.

The mission is the first for "The Elders", a group launched by fellow
Nobel laureate and former South African president Nelson Mandela.

They went to experience first hand the suffering of the people of
Darfur and find ways to end violence in a region plagued by four years
of civil war that has left an estimated 200,000 people dead, according
to UN estimates.

Sudanese authorities say only 9,000 people have died.


Progress Seen in Resolving The Conflict in Darfur
United States Department of State (Washington, DC)
24 September 2007
By Jim Fisher-Thompson - Washington, DC

Measurable progress is being made on resolving conflict in the Darfur
region of Sudan by the United States and international partners that
have been working to arrange talks among the warring parties, a U.S.
diplomat says.

A Darfur cease-fire, brokered in part by the Libyan government, is
working, and the number of deaths is lower than it was in 2006, U.S.
Special Envoy Andrew Natsios said recently during a meeting of Africa
specialists at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
(CSIS) in Washington.

"I am more optimistic now than I've been in a long time," Natsios
said. "But it is a guarded optimism. Much hard work still needs to be
done" to convince rebel leaders to resolve their differences so they
can approach peace talks with a unified set of proposals as well as
ensure Sudanese compliance with the U.N. proposal to deploy 24,000
peacekeepers to Darfur in a joint African Union (AU)-United Nations force.

Darfur also will be on the agenda of the upcoming U.N. General
Assembly meeting in New York, which will be followed by peace talks
between Sudanese government and rebel leaders in Tripoli, hosted by
the Libyan government October 27, Natsios said.

At the U.N. General Assembly meeting, Natsios said, one of the major
topics of discussion will be "how we as the international community
continue to use our leverage and influence to keep the Darfur peace
talks on track."

Together with international partners, Natsios said, "we are discussing
measures, including sanctions, to discourage anyone on any side from
taking actions that will jeopardize the [Tripoli] talks. This includes
the government of Sudan," as well as rebel groups.

Since violence first sparked in Darfur in 2003, more than 200,000
lives have been lost and 2.5 million people displaced in fighting
between government-backed forces called the Janjaweed and rebel
movements contending for power.

Peace talks held in Abuja, Nigeria, and Arusha, Tanzania, failed to
stem the violence, partly because of infighting among rebel leaders
and the government's intransigence in not permitting a
U.N.-strengthened peacekeeping force into the region to protect civilians.

But now, says Natsios, conditions are being created that should allow
the parties in the Darfur conflict to hammer out a lasting peace
settlement. "Diplomacy is being conducted at the highest levels of our
government," in partnership with foreign nations such as France, Libya
and China, to bring an end to the crisis, Natsios told the CSIS gathering.

Sanctions announced by President Bush last April are having a
"profound effect" on Sudanese who have been stumbling blocks to the
peace process in Darfur, Natsios said. As a result, he said, "we are
seeing some improvement on the part of the government of Sudan," such
as the recent release of a rebel leader "after intensive, quiet
diplomacy by the United Nations and the United States."

But the "biggest obstacle to peace," Natsios said, is dissension and a
lack of unity among the 14 to 22 rebel groups that have been battling
the Sudanese government in Darfur for almost five years.

Urging all the rebel parties to attend the Tripoli peace talks, he
said: "They have to realize that you don't get everything you want [in
negotiations]. They need to repair internal disagreements and hammer
out a common position" in order to ensure lasting peace in Darfur.

Acknowledging some controversy over the Tripoli venue, Natsios said he
has traveled to Libya to discuss Darfur four times since being named
special envoy and that the Libyan government has played a constructive
role in the Darfur peace process.

"One of the most encouraging developments" in resolving the Darfur
crisis, he said, has been "watching the international community come
together" to support the peace talks, as well as deployment of the
AU-U.N. peacekeeping efforts in the region.

"China has also played a very useful role behind the scenes," Natsios
said, in using leverage to get the Sudanese government to accept the
hybrid force and to participate in the Tripoli talks. In addition,
"the Chinese have contributed 300 engineering troops to the hybrid
force ... and they have made other promises in some detail ... that
are very constructive."

Natsios also said a recent French initiative calling for a
humanitarian corridor to be opened through Chad would bring relief to
victims of the violence in Darfur. "We compliment President [Nicolas]
Sarkozy" on the idea, which "seems to have legs on it [be feasible],"
he said.



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