More than two weeks ago, human rights bill HR2003 was postponed for mark-up—--the result of dubious American attempts at negotiation with one of the world’s most brutal dictators. The US State Department has since further neutralized their language, and the press is treating the negotiations as nothing more than the claims of those in captivity (despite the fact that the initial leak to the Washington Post was reported to have come from US state officials). The momentum that was building over the past month seems to have come to a complete standstill; yet today, the prisoners remain in Kaliti, while the prosecution demands their execution.
Of course, there are rumors swirling—Meles is trying to preserve the ‘independence of the Court’ and the US is giving him the space to do so, provided the prisoners are released immediately following the sentencing. Fine; however, it is my opinion that, even if this is true, it does not excuse their shamefully submissive conduct in the meantime. Why the tiptoeing around? Since when has it become the responsibility of a free and democratic nation to cater to the sensibilities of such a wanton violator of human rights?
Regardless of what is being negotiated in private bewteen these two countries, I am appalled by the continued public observance of the diplomatic etiquette that enables oppressors to escape the consequences of their actions.
On Monday, we will enter the courtroom, clinging to the hope that the sentencing is all part of the larger geopolitical game. But Meles has proven on countless occasions that he can not be trusted, and any concessions made by him must be regarded accordingly. He has already failed to deliver on his promise of releasing the prisoners with the postponment of the bill—why then, will he not balk at these obligations once more after the sentence is handed down? It is obvious that he does not possess the integrity required to keep his word, and therefore should not be regarded by diplomats as a man of such principle.