Few would argue that these last weeks have been the UN’s finest. Though the organization has rarely been accused of efficiency, I would venture to say that its moral credibility has not often been at issue. Until now.

Despite that (which is fodder for a different article), I’m somewhat proud of the UN’s performance in the last two weeks. Here’s why:

March 24, 2005

: The UN decides to send a 10,000 person peacekeeping force to

Sudan

. Though this is mainly to police the settlement in the South of the country (the government signed a peace treaty with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army late in 2004, hopefully ending some 21 years of civil war http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39784-2004Dec31.html), some of those peacekeepers may be dispatched to Darfur to join the 2,000 African Union peacekeepers there.

March 29, 2005

: The UN Security Council votes to strengthen its arms embargo (Sudanese government must now inform the UN before sending arms to

Darfur

).

March 31, 2005

: The UN Security Council votes to send 51 suspected war criminals in

Darfur

to the International Criminal Court (ICC). This is the first time the UN has referred any suspects to the ICC since that body’s establishment in 2002. The ICC has acknowledged the referral http://www.icc-cpi.int/press/pressreleases/98.html and is beginning its assessment of the case.

However, no silver lining is without its cloud(s) – and here they are:

  1. The

    United States

    government behaved abhorrently. First, the Bush administration attempted to persuade the UN to circumvent the ICC and set up and ad-hoc tribunal, on the model of those established for the conflict in the Balkans, despite the obvious waste in time and money – clearly, swift justice is not a priority for

    Washington

    . Then, the

    United States

    agreed to withhold its veto (for the ICC resolution) only on the condition that the resolution specify that no nationals from non-signatories could be tried in the ICC in connection with the

    Darfur

    case. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGAFR540332005 To threaten to veto a resolution of such importance in order to guarantee a restriction of justice is no less than morally reprehensible.

  2. More importantly, the genocide continues. A British Parliamentary Report has put the death toll at 300,000, though the Sudanese government denies this figure. The African Union contingent does not have the resources http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3829702 to deal with the situation. At the very least, we should be offering funds and supplies.

As everyone continues to point out, we vowed: Never Again. As we stand by and watch this atrocity continue, we have become liars and worse.

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