Jimmy Carter is using his gravitas to defend the Sudanese government against charges of genocide:
"There is a legal definition of genocide and Darfur does not meet that legal standard. The atrocities were horrible but I don't think it qualifies to be called genocide," he said. Washington is almost alone in branding the 4 1/2 years of violence in Darfur genocide. Khartoum rejects the term, European governments are reluctant to use it and a U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry found no genocide, but that some individuals may have acted with genocidal intent. Carter, whose charitable foundation, the Carter Center, worked to establish the International Criminal Court (ICC), said: "If you read the law textbooks ... you'll see very clearly that it's not genocide and to call it genocide falsely just to exaggerate a horrible situation I don't think it helps.
Carter is either ignoring, or is ignorant of, the fact that as many as 200,000 have died in Darfur at the hands of the Janjaweed, and have depopulated much of the region. This is what it looks like:
I don't know what 'law textbooks' Carter thinks will refute applying the term 'genocide' to Darfur, but the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide seems to cover the Darfur situation pretty clearly:
...any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:Perhaps Carter is the one who isn't being helpful here.
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Update: Eric Reeves at The New Republic slams Carter for turning a blind eye to genocide, saying that Carter is engaged in "some ghastly quid pro quo he hopes to arrange with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir," and that "In short, it seems doubtful that Carter has read the textbooks he claims to have read, or the vast body of human rights literature on Darfur--or even the Genocide Convention itself. If he had done any of these things, he would not speak so ignorantly."