GENOCIDE, OMAR AL-BASHIR AND JUSTICE - WHO WILL TAKE THE COURAGEOUS STEP TO LEAD TOWARD JUSTICE?
The ICC story should be front page news today in USA newspapers and one of the major stories on network and cable "news" and political networks - what are the chances of that? What per centage of those will cover this story? It is heartbreaking, unacceptable and unforgivable that our USA news media have been complicit in the story being so stagnant and neglected in the reporting world. It is hardly breaking news that we care about what is put in front of our faces. Especially, our politicians need to be told what matters to us and what we want to define us. As Patrick Kennedy told me once in a Darfur lobby meeting with him...."the squeaky wheel gets the grease in Washington, D.C." And as then Senator Lincoln Chafee legislative aids told me in 2006- it is critically important for the USA citizens be many about speaking out to end the Darfur genocide. I said, " I was moved by the streams of people coming up out of the subway stop where I was volunteering...that they didn't have to come, and yet they did." And their response was "But, 'they' do have to come." - implying, or else nothing will happen....Well....nothing has happened and "some" of us have been speaking out for over 6 plus years.
WHAT HAS THE WORLD DONE TO PROTECT THE CURRENT VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE?
Press Release: 12.07.2010
Pre-Trial Chamber I issues a second warrant of arrest against Omar Al Bashir for counts of genocide
Case: The Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir
Situation: Darfur, Sudan
Also reported here: news.bbc.co.uk
Today, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a second warrant of arrest against the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, considering that there are reasonable grounds to believe him responsible for three counts of genocide committed against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups, that include: genocide by killing, genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm and genocide by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction.
This second arrest warrant does not replace or revoke in any respect the first warrant of arrest issued against Mr Al Bashir on 4 March, 2009, which shall thus remain in effect. In the previous arrest warrant, the Chamber considered that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Al Bashir is criminally responsible for five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape) and two counts for war crimes (intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities, and pillaging).
On 4 March, 2009, Pre-Trial Chamber I had rejected the Prosecutor’s application in respect of the crime of genocide. On 6 July, 2009, the Prosecutor filed an appeal against this decision. On 3 February, 2010, the Appeals Chamber rendered its judgment on the Prosecutor’s appeal, reversing, by unanimous decision, Pre-Trial Chamber I’s decision of 4 March, 2009, to the extent that Pre-Trial Chamber I decided “not to issue a warrant of arrest in respect of the charge of genocide in view of an erroneous standard of proof”. The Appeals Chamber directed the Pre-Trial Chamber to decide anew whether or not the arrest warrant should be extended to cover the charge of genocide. Applying the standard of proof as identified by the Appeals Chamber, Pre-Trial Chamber I concluded today that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Al Bashir acted with specific intent to destroy in part the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups.
Pre-Trial Chamber I requests the Registrar of the Court to prepare a supplementary request for co-operation seeking the arrest and surrender of Mr Al Bashir for the counts contained in both the first and the second warrant of arrest, and transmit such a request to the competent Sudanese authorities, to all States Parties to the Rome Statute, and to all the United Nations Security Council members that are not States Parties to the Statute. The Registrar is also directed to transmit additional requests for the arrest and surrender of Omar Al Bashir to the Court to any other State as may be necessary.
The situation in Darfur was referred to the International Criminal Court by the United Nations Security Council’s resolution 1593, on 31 March, 2005. In this situation, four cases are being heard: The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Muhammad Harun (“Ahmad Harun”) and Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman (“Ali Kushayb”); The Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir; The Prosecutor v. Bahar Idriss Abu Garda and The Prosecutor v. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus.
The International Criminal Court is the only permanent international court established with the mission to help put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes.
- While the ICC arrest warrants for al-Bashir certainly add some legal weight to our long-held conviction that Omar al-Bashir is responsible for grave crimes against civilians in Darfur, today’s decision by the ICC judges does not mean that the ICC has declared genocide has occurred or is occurring in Darfur.
- Al-Bashir would need to appear before the ICC judges, have his charges confirmed in an initial hearing, then face trial for and be found guilty of genocide before we could say that the ICC judges have determined that Omar al-Bashir committed genocide in Darfur or that genocide has occurred in Darfur.
What should be done:
- The Obama Administration must immediately make clear to the Government of Sudan that any reaction to today’s news that threatens civilians, aid workers or peacekeepers in Darfur will not be tolerated. After the first ICC arrest warrant was announced last March, Bashir expelled over a dozen international aid groups and disbanded three Sudanese aid organizations, forcing an emergency response from the United Nations and international community to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur.
- The US and international community must vigilantly monitor the humanitarian and human rights situation in Sudan and swiftly respond to any threats or acts of violence or other repression against civilians, aid workers or peacekeepers.
- The United States government should reaffirm its support for the ICC’s pursuit of justice in Darfur and should work together with UN Security Council and ICC member states to ensure the enforcement of this and all ICC arrest warrants for those accused of atrocities in Darfur, including al-Bashir.
Save Darfur Coalition's blog will have more throughout the day: http://blogfordarfur.org/
RIGHTS GROUPS RESPOND TO NEW “GENOCIDE” ARREST WARRANT FOR PRESIDENT BASHIR
International community must bring Bashir and other indictees to justice and prevent violent retaliation by Bashir regime
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Four human rights advocacy organizations - the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, Genocide Intervention Network, the Save Darfur Coalition, and the American Jewish World Service - jointly issued the following statement in response.
The issuance of a second arrest warrant for President Al-Bashir for three counts of genocide requires the international community to fully support the ICC and renew its efforts to apprehend him and all others wanted by the ICC for crimes committed in Darfur. The Government of Sudan should immediately turn over President al-Bashir to face trial in The Hague. Barring this unlikely cooperation, the United States and the international community should work together to ensure Bashir’s swift arrest.
After the ICC issued the first warrant for al-Bashir’s arrest in March 2009, President Bashir evicted more than a dozen international aid groups from Sudan, putting thousands of lives at risk. The international community did little to challenge this retaliation, and critically needed services, including aid for survivors of sexual violence, were lost and never replaced in Darfur. President Obama, the UN Security Council, and other world leaders must make it clear to President Bashir that any new retaliation against humanitarian efforts will be met with clear consequences. Sudanese civilians should not be targeted as justice is pursued for those who have died and suffered in Darfur.
The Bashir regime's decades of crimes must end. While risk of a return to full-scale, national war grows and a referendum for southern Sudanese self-determination draws near, the Obama administration should put in action the consequences and pressures it promised for the lack of measurable progress and continued backsliding on key benchmarks by the Government of Sudan and other parties. The United States also needs to intensify its diplomatic efforts to find a path to peace in Sudan, with support from President Obama and other senior members of his foreign policy team.
“Accountability is a fundamental component of sustainable peace in Sudan,” says John Prendergast, Co-Founder of the Enough Project. “President Obama should make abundantly clear his unequivocal support for peace rooted in justice in Sudan by sending the message that consequences will result from any retaliation against Sudanese civilians as a result of this warrant, and by building stronger international support for this warrant.”
“The American people are expecting President Obama to fulfill his campaign promises and forcefully support the ICC and protect civilians in Sudan,” says Mark Hanis, President of the Genocide Intervention Network. “The United States government should reaffirm its support for the ICC’s pursuit of justice in Darfur and should work together with UN Security Council and ICC member states to ensure the swift enforcement of this and all ICC arrest warrants for those accused of atrocities in Darfur, including al-Bashir.”
“The United States and broader international community must vigilantly monitor for any threats or acts of violence or other repression against civilians, Sudanese human rights activists, aid workers or peacekeepers,” says Mark Lotwis, Acting President of the Save Darfur Coalition. “While pushing for al-Bashir’s apprehension, the Obama administration must lead efforts to prevent a repeat of the merciless and cruel retaliation by the Khartoum regime last year.”
“Today’s decision comes at a perilous time for the Sudanese people,” said American Jewish World Service (AJWS) president Ruth Messinger. “The Obama administration’s vigilance in implementing the accountability mechanisms central to its Sudan policy is critical to ensure this decision is not used as a pretext to punish civilians and interrupt life-saving aid.”
Check back weekly for updated things you can do!
It will only take you 5 minutes a day to have an impact on millions of lives.
Obama Administration: Don’t Be AWOL on Justice for Sudan!
Today the International Criminal Court issued a second arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al Bashir – it has now added charges of three counts of genocide to his previous seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is the first time ever the Court has issued an arrest warrant for genocide.
Yesterday President Obama called for the prosecution and arrest of those that carried out the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina 15 years ago, saying “there can be no lasting peace without justice.”
Why, then, does he remain AWOL on justice for Sudan?
Take Action! Please do one or more of the easy, suggested actions to tell President Obama, “Do Not Be AWOL on Justice for Sudan!”
Leave messages for President Obama (you’ll have to click the “like” but ton on the page first) and tell him:
Following the ICC’s arrest warrant against Sudan’s President Omer al Bashir, the US government must do everything in its power to support the ICC’s effort to bring justice to Sudan, to renew the international community’s efforts to apprehend Bashir, and to prevent retaliation against innocent civilians in Sudan. President Obama, don’t be AWOL on justice in Sudan!” http://tinyurl.com/382jldx
Call the President Obama at 202-456-1111 (9 AM – 5 PM EST, M-F) and tell him:
“My name is ________, and I’m calling from ____________. Following the ICC arrest warrant for genocide against President Bashir, the US government should do everything in its power to support the ICC’s effort to bring justice to Sudan, to renew the international community’s efforts to apprehend Bashir and to prevent retaliation against innocent civilians in Sudan. Mere words of condemnation will not work any longer – the people of Sudan need real pressure on their government and full cooperation with the ICC. Don’t be AWOL on justice in Sudan!”
ACTIONS YOU CAN DO
from Save Darfur Coaltion
1) Call the State Department at 202-647-4000 and ask that the US government do everything in its power to prevent retaliation against innocent civilians in Sudan.
2) Spread the word about & show public support for this new arrest warrant.
a. Tweet about it:
// or cc reporters and news agencies.
b. Post a link to the ICC’s press release on your Facebook page: http://www.icc-cpi.int/menus/icc/press%20and%20media/press%20releases/pr557
c. Send an email to your list. Include the quote from the press release: “there are reasonable grounds to believe [Omar al-Bashir] responsible for three counts of genocide committed against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups, that include: genocide by killing, genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm and genocide by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction.”
3) Support members of the Sudanese Diaspora gathering on Wednesday July 14, 2010 to protest Bashir’s continued flaunting of international justice. More about the DC event is available here: http://blogfordarfur.org/archives/4655
Save Darfur is putting together a petition that will be emailed out later today, and GI-Net is updating 1-800-GENOCIDE with talking points. I’ll let you know when that is all available.
our humanity in the balance