Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Sudan/Darfur: Powell on the "g" word

One more for the list ...

The following is excerpted from this chat Powell had with the press during the flight to Khartoum.
QUESTION: Tell us what you will tell the Sudanese leaders about the genocide determination that is being made by your government and what it will mean? And also, if you can tell us what your position is on getting a peacekeeping force in Darfur?

SECRETARY POWELL: The issue of genocide is a legal determination and my counsel, Will Taft, as well as Pierre Prosper, who you all know, are examining this carefully. Ambassador Prosper testified last week that we see indicators and elements that would start to move you toward a genocidal conclusion. But, we’re not there yet. And, frankly, I hope we don’t get there.

Whether you call it genocide or whether somebody prefers to call it ethnic cleansing or some people think, as a technical matter, it doesn’t reach the level of either ethnic cleansing or genocide. I will let Ambassador Prosper and all the lawyers argue about that. What we are seeing is a disaster, a catastrophe, and we can find the right label for it later. We’ve got to deal with it now. That’s my focus.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell

UPDATE: Published July 1 ... Powell is quoted as saying:
"We see indicators and elements that would start to move you toward a genocidal conclusion. We can find the right label for it later, we have got to deal with it now." (source)


In an interview with National Public Radio, Powell said the situation "doesn't meet the tests of the definition of genocide."

"I can assure you that if all the indicators lined up and said this meets what the treaty test of genocide is, I would have no reluctance to call it that," Powell said. (source)