Friday, December 16, 2011

Executing Arrest Warrants Will End the Crimes in Darfur

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has renewed his call for the arrest and transfer of those alleged to have committed genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur, citing the need to protect millions of lives in the troubled Sudanese region.  Since it took up the situation in Darfur in 2005, the court has issued arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as then government minister Ahmed Harun and Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb.

“The execution of the arrest warrants will end the crimes in Darfur,” Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in his briefing this week to the Security Council. “The individuals sought by the court are still allegedly committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo noted that the Sudanese Government has repeatedly failed to carry out the arrest warrants. He also noted that Malawi, a State party to the ICC, recently refused to arrest Mr. al-Bashir when he visited the country.  “The world knows where the fugitives of the court are,” he stated. “They are in official positions, controlling the Government of the Sudan, commanding military operations in different parts of the Sudan.”

Meanwhile, civilians in Darfur continue to be subject to indiscriminate aerial bombardment and the Janjaweed militiamen have still not been disarmed, “despite numerous injunctions by this Council,” said the prosecutor.  “The people of Darfur need the leadership of the Security Council,” he stressed.  “The arrest warrants shall be implemented. The Security Council resolutions shall be implemented. Millions of civilians in Darfur shall be protected.”

Earlier this month the prosecutor requested an arrest warrant against Sudanese Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, saying there was evidence that he is one of those who bears the greatest criminal responsibility for the same crimes and incidents presented in the arrest warrants for Mr. Harun and Mr. Kushayb.  In addition, the ICC has issued summonses to appear for Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo, two rebel leaders who stand accused of orchestrating the 2007 attack that resulted in the death of 12 African Union peacekeepers in the Haskanita area of Darfur. Both men have committed to surrender voluntarily to the ICC for trial.

The Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC six years ago after a UN inquiry found serious violations of international human rights law in the region, where fighting has raged since 2003.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

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