Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College in Massachusetts, who studies Sudan and has written strong criticisms of its government, said the choice of a Sudanese general was a sign the Arab League might not want its monitors to produce findings that would force it to take stronger action.
“There is a broader question of why you would pick someone to lead this investigation … when he is part of an army that is guilty of precisely the sort of crimes that are being investigated in Syria,” Mr. Reeves said.
“I think a Sudanese general would be one of the least likely people in the world to acknowledge these findings even if they are right there before him… It doesn’t make any sense unless you want to shape the finding. They want it shaped in ways that will minimize the obligation to do more than they already have.”
Reuters notes that Dabi has held senior Sudanese military and government posts, including four positions in the Darfur region, where the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says the army carried out war crimes and the U.N. says as many as 300,000 people may have died.
Human Rights Watch Sudan researcher Jehanne Henry said Dabi “certainly would have been in a position to know what the security services were doing at that time,” adding, “He obviously does not fit the profile as a human rights monitor.”
Omer Ismail of the Center for American Progress’s Enough Project also criticized the Arab League’s decision, calling it “perplexing.” “Instead of heading a team entrusted with a probe of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by Syria, the general should be investigated by the ICC for evidence of similar crimes in Sudan,” he said.