Rarely do I ever find myself agreeing with a Russian foreign policy official. But a Russian ambassador slammed his American counterpart, Susan Rice, for preaching the need to investigate war crimes in Darfur but ignoring similar alleged crimes in Gaza. Why should one be different from the other?
To be sure, war crimes accusations almost always come encumbered by politics. That is the charge levelled against the ICC for seeking a warrant for Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir’s arrest. That is the charge slapped against investigators of war crimes committed by Israeli and Palestinian forces in Gaza last winter.
But our ambassador cannot pick and choose which crimes the international community should investigate and which should be ignored. That taints the process and needlessly injects politics into the equation. The Arab world, not to mention several human rights organizations like Amnesty International, has rightfully criticized Rice for her double-standard on this issue.
Which is unfortunate: She has been a forceful advocate for a more robust and activist foreign policy to prevent further genocide in Sudan (perhaps burdened by her position in the Clinton administration when Washington stood by and did nothing to help Rwanda). She should throw her weight behind any effort that seeks to uncover similar attrocities in the Middle East.