“Justice for Darfur” statement on Bashir warrant

4 Mar, 2009 | Press Releases

“Justice for Darfur” is a campaign supported by 46 human rights organizations worldwide (including No Peace Without Justice), calling on the international community to ensure the prompt arrest and surrender of the persons subject to an International Criminal Court arrest warrant. Please find below the list of the signatory organizations. For more information, please visit: www.justice4darfur.org

(The Hague, March 4, 2009) Today’s decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese president General Omar al-Bashir is a major step towards combating impunity associated with the horrific crimes in Darfur, said the Justice for Darfur campaign. President al-Bashir is wanted by the court for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Justice for Darfur calls on the international community to press Sudanese authorities to comply with their obligations to execute the warrant. The government of Sudan has failed to bring to justice any of those responsible for crimes under international law in Darfur, and has so far refused to cooperate with the ICC and to surrender any of the suspects.
“The ICC represents the best hope for justice for the victims of Darfur.” said Dismas Nkunda from the International Refugee Rights Initiative. “The international community must ensure that Sudan complies with its obligation to cooperate with the ICC, including by handing over anyone subject to an arrest warrant.”

In 2005, the UN Security Council mandated the Prosecutor of the ICC to investigate and prosecute crimes committed in Darfur since 2002. The Court has now issued three arrest warrants for: President al-Bashir, current State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmad Harun, and Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb. The ICC prosecutor has also requested arrest warrants for three rebel leaders implicated in attacks on international peacekeepers in Darfur.

The Justice for Darfur campaign also calls on United Nations Security Council members to remain committed to the independence of the ICC and to reject any attempt to invoke article 16 of the Rome Statute, which would defer investigation and prosecution of crimes under international law in Darfur.

Over recent months, some Sudanese officials have threatened that issuing an arrest warrant for President al-Bashir would jeopardize the safety of the U.N. staff and infrastructure as well as humanitarian staff in Sudan.

The Justice for Darfur campaign also expressed concerns about the increasing harassment faced by human rights defenders and others in Sudan who have spoken out in support of justice for the victims in Darfur.

“The UN Security Council should make clear to Sudanese authorities that threats or attacks against UN peacekeepers, humanitarian workers or civilians in Darfur or elsewhere in Sudan in retaliation for the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant are not acceptable,” said the Justice for Darfur campaign.

The government of Sudan is required by international law to ensure the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel as well as the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need in Darfur, in particular to the internally displaced. Deliberate attacks on personnel involved in humanitarian or peacekeeping missions, by any party to the conflict, constitute war crimes under International Law.

The international community’s strong support for the work of the ICC is essential to enable the Court to provide justice in Darfur.

Download the Statement in: EnglishFrenchArabic