Arresting Bashir is political suicide for South Sudan

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Saturday, 24 March 2012 18:09
Written by David Dau Achuoth, The New Sudan Vision (NSV),newsudanvision.com
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(Minneapolis, Minnesota) - Those who are advocating for the government of South Sudan to arrest Sudan president Omar Bashir during his official visit to Juba, South Sudan next month are pushing our government to commit a national political suicide. Perhaps these civil societies groups have a collective amnesia to forget that both South Sudan and Sudan still have major political issues to resolve according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. For instance; border demarcation, Abyei, IDPs' repatriation, nationality, and pension fund for Southern citizens who worked in Khartoum before separation of the two States. So anyone in their right mind should understand that arresting Bashir on his official visit to South Sudan could have serious repercussions that could plunge both nations back into civil war. 

Make no mistake, we are a sovereign nation, and self-determination is in our constitution and we all abide by it. However, being a sovereign state does not mean we can carry out international laws which we are not signatories to. There are different legal concepts to it. So I pray that no one in the government listens to those voices calling for this act of political insanity.

God forbid if the government of South Sudan were to carry out this arrest, the issue could become further complicated by the reaction of Khartoum government and their constituencies.  That is why I applaud a statement by the Secretary General of the SPLM, Mr. Pagaan Amum “South Sudan does not have any obligation under Rome Statue to carry arrest of Bashir”, and he is right. Nonetheless, Mr. Bashir was invited by President Salva Kiir. In fact I believe that President Kiir invited president Bashir to Juba so he can continue to seek to maximize gain on issues as the talk between the two is about to resume.

The dilemma is particularly common on issues like Abyei and the border.  Consequently, we must learn to divorce our emotion from reality. Because incidences like these demonstrate why our emotions continue to be our major problem.  By the way; this is a commentary, not an attempt to silent anyone's freedom of speech. I just happen to think that the civil societies are voicing their concern at a strategically wrong time. 

*Dau Achuoth is a contributor to The New Sudan Vision.