New U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power is living up to her reputation as a staunch defender of human rights, and in the process is testing the limits of U.S. diplomacy within the bounds of international law.
Power came out swinging Monday in a statement about Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s decision to seek a visa to attend the U.N. General Assembly, which opened yesterday in New York. “Such a trip would be deplorable, cynical and hugely inappropriate,” she said, adding that Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court, ought to turn himself over to the ICC instead.
The Obama administration would be on flimsy legal ground to deny Bashir a visa for the U.N., as Julian Ku explains. Under the core agreements governing the U.N., the U.S. has little choice but to grant such diplomatic visas. Washington has skirted these legal niceties before, however: As Colum Lynch details, the U.S. has slow-played U.N. visas for representatives of its antagonists, particularly Iran.