NPWJ and NRPTT welcome ICC arrest warrant for Sudanese Defence Minister; call for heightened efforts to enforce other arrest warrants for the situation in Darfur

Brussels - Rome - New York, 1 March 2012

 
Today, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant of arrest against Mr. Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein for 41 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, allegedly committed in the context of the situation in Darfur (Sudan). Mr. Hussein is currently Minister of National Defence of the Sudanese Government and former Minister of the Interior and former Sudanese President's Special Representative in Darfur. He was also a supposed core component of the unlawful attacks launched primarily on Fur populations of the towns of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, Arawala and surrounding areas by the Sudanese armed forces, and on the Militia/Janjaweed.
 
Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:
 
“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) appreciate the decision of the ICC to issue an arrest warrant for Mr Hussein on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, as a significant response to the demands of justice from the people of Darfur. With this decision, the ICC is again proving itself to play a crucial role in the international community’s fight against impunity and in the implementation of transitional justice mechanisms.
 
“The ICC Chamber considers that in his role as Minister of Interior, Defence and Special Representative of the President in Darfur, Mr Hussein made essential contributions to the formulation and implementation of a counter-insurgency campaign against movements opposing the Government. Within this campaign, the Chamber has found reasonable grounds to believe that serious war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed, including murder, rape, torture, imprisonment and severe deprivation of liberty.
 
“NPWJ and the NRPTT therefore call upon the international community and States Parties to ensure that the arrest warrant against Mr Hussein is actually enforced, so he can be brought to account for the charges levelled against him by the Court and his warrant does not languish beside other arrest warrants issued, but not enforced, for the situation in Sudan, including against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
 
“Sudan's own history demonstrates that granting impunity for serious crimes only encourages those crimes to continue. With this most recent decision, the ICC has sent another clear message, namely that there must be accountability for crimes under international law, irrespective of the political allegiance or rank of perpetrators. NPWJ and the NRPTT underscore that the prosecution of all persons against whom arrest warrants have been issued in the situation in Sudan is imperative, as it also responds to the essential interest of victims. Much more must be done to ensure the arrest and transfer of all outstanding arrest warrants: all States and particularly ICC States Parties must send a strong and consistent signal to this end, including by refusing to host alleged war criminals on their territories.
 
“The people of Sudan and Darfur deserve a chance at lasting peace, which in return strongly requires impartial and effective justice. The international community must support the ICC and clearly demonstrate its commitment to stand on the side of the establishment of truth and justice, and, moreover, of the victims of human rights violations.”
 
 
For further information, please contact Alison Smith on asmith@npwj.org or +32-(0)2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-(0)2-548-3915.