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Cablegate: Darfuri Lawyers Dismissive of New Darfur Chief Prosecutor

VZCZCXRO1723
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1240 2281315
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151315Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1628
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001240

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON
NSC FOR BPITTMAN AND CHUDSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: DARFURI LAWYERS DISMISSIVE OF NEW DARFUR CHIEF PROSECUTOR

1. (SBU) Summary: On 13 August Poloff met with Faroug Adam, a member
of the Darfuri Bar Association to discuss the appointment of Nimer
Ibrahim Mohamed as the Chief Prosecutor of war crimes in Darfur.
Adam noted that the absence of war crimes and genocide from Sudan's
legal code, along with Mohamed's status as a longtime NCP insider,
revealed the appointment was not a good faith effort to attain
justice, but rather an attempt (albeit a feeble one) to thwart the
ICC indictment of President Bashir. Abdulaziz Sam, Legal Secretary
of the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority (TDRA), concurred that
the move was an obvious tactical maneuver and not a serious effort
to attain justice in Darfur. End Summary.

NCP INSIDERS
------------

2. (SBU) Sam stated that he and others with whom he had spoken in
the legal community were unfamiliar with Mohamed, other than the
fact he is an NCP member. "He has just appeared" on the scene, he
noted. Adam, who had conducted some background research at the
request of poloff, stated that Mohamed spent his entire career with
the state legal apparatus, having joined the Ministry of Justice
after graduating from the Faculty of Law at the University of
Khartoum in 1970. He has served in a variety of posts, including
Legal Advisor to the Gezira Scheme, the massive agricultural
irrigation system. Adam noted that this signified Mohamed's status
as an NCP loyalist. Adam added that as the Gezira Scheme is a
pillar of the Sudanese economy, the role of its Legal Advisor would
not be entrusted to an outsider. Adam said that Mohamed's appointed
aides, identified in the Ministerial Decree as Kamal Mahjoub Ahmed,
Al Hadi Mahjoub Makawi, and Mamoum Meki, were also products of the
state legal system, although younger and more inexperienced than
their boss. He stated that he expected them all to be "yes-men".

NOT A SERIOUS EFFORT
--------------------

3. (SBU) Both Adam and Sam dismissed the appointment of Mohamed as
an obvious tactical ploy to circumvent the ICC and to address the
recommendation of the Arab League. Sam told poloff that Mohamed will
have neither the will, nor the power to impose justice in Darfur. He
asserted that even a serious attempt to investigate on his part
would be thwarted by restricted access and non-cooperation, not to
mention the added problem of the time that has passed since the
crimes were committed. "What exactly is he going to do?" he asked
rhetorically. Adam stated that the entire legal community considered
the effort to be nonsense, because the prosecutor and his aides were
not neutral but in fact part of the state apparatus accused of war
crimes in Darfur. He observed it was no different than previous
half-hearted efforts to achieve justice, including the floundering
special court established in 2005.

BOUND TO FAIL
--------------
4. (SBU) Adam predicted that for a number of reasons the appointment
of Mohamed would fail to get Bashir off the hook with the ICC (Note:
According to the ICC statute, if credible trials for war crimes are
held domestically, the ICC charges are dropped. End Note.) First, he
said, Sudan lacks statutes against war crimes or genocide in its
legal code. Secondly, the trials could not be considered credible
since they were being prosecuted by the legal apparatus of the
regime that is itself accused of atrocities. And third, the timing
of the appointment makes it blatantly obvious that the regime is
more interested in thwarting the ICC than attaining justice in
Darfur. Adam stated that the ICC and the international community at
large would not be fooled by such bad faith efforts.

5. (SBU) Comment: The appointment of the chief prosecutor is the
latest manifestation of the GOS's penchant for form over substance
and process over results - and is too little too late. Clearly the
current and future ICC indictments (not only of Bashir but also of
Harun and Kushayb) put the regime in an incredibly awkward situation
that it cannot fully address without risk of implosion. On the one
hand, the regime feels it cannot turn Harun and Kushayb over to the
ICC for fear they will "talk." But on the other, it can't trust
truly neutral Sudanese prosecutors to try them in Sudan, lest the
process get beyond the regime's control and be used against it by
its enemies. In the end the regime may ignore and condemn the ICC
as a political tool of the West, whether or not an arrest warrant
against President Bashir is issued.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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