Let’s Make Ahmad Haroun (in)Famous

Nicholas Kristoff sketches out a possible time line for a genocide in South Sudan that includes this nugget:

JAN. 18 The South declares that 91 percent of voters have chosen secession. The North denounces the vote, saying it was illegal, tainted by violence and fraud, and invalid because the turnout fell below the 60 percent threshold required.

JAN. 20 The South issues a unilateral declaration of independence.

JAN. 25 Tribal militias from the North sweep through South Sudan villages, killing and raping inhabitants and driving them south. The governor of a border state in the North, Ahmad Haroun, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and organizing the janjaweed militia in Darfur, denies that he is now doing the same thing in the South. [emphasis mine]

That last part deserves a little more explaining.

In May 2007, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Ahmad Haroun for crimes against humanity.  The warrant alleges that he was the key government figure who implemented Khartoum’s counterinsurgency-by-genocide strategy for Darfur.   Then, when most of Darfur’s population was displaced to IDP camps, he was promoted to “Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs.” From that position oversaw the systematic harassment of humanitarian workers and restriction of humanitarian access to Darfur’s displaced population.

This is all spelled out in very clinical prose in Haroun’s arrest warrant. But the point is, he has demonstrated a particular expertise in population control. Now, he serves as governor of South Kordofan, a province which includes the contested, oil rich border region of Abyei.

Two weeks ago the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo visited Washington, D.C. with the message: if you want to understand what is going to happen in South Sudan, look no further than Ahmed Haroun, “To follow the crimes, follow Haroun,” he said. “You should know a genocide is coming in the south. It is important for me to come to Washington to explain that,” the prosecutor told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center.  “Haroun in South Kordofan is a huge risk.”

Haroun is someone that those who write about politics and foreign policy should get to know a bit better. He ought to be at least as infamous as Mladic or Eichmann.  Read the prosecutor’s application for an arrest warrant and you will understand why.