The ICC indictment against Al-Bashir and its repercussions for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Darfur


The impact of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on peace processes has received much scholarly attention. We argue, based on the ICC arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, that ICC indictments against government officials not only can be detrimental to the prospects for peace, but can also negatively affect everyday practices of peacekeepers and humanitarian workers. We draw on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data in order to develop our argument. We interrogate some measurable consequences of the indictment in relation to the work of the United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as well as humanitarian actors in Darfur. We do so using a data set compiled to support the work of UNAMID. We also draw on interviews with UN and UNAMID staff, aid workers, and representatives of the conflict parties. Our analysis shows that the indictment of President al-Bashir was perceived by the Sudanese government as the continuation of a confrontational approach pursued by the international community. We further show that the indictment accelerated patterns of obstruction and intimidation of peacekeeping actors, other third-party actors, and local staff associated with these. This complicated the everyday activities of peacekeepers and humanitarian efforts.

Third World Quarterly