NPWJ urges the Democratic Republic of Congo to stand up for justice and not grant impunity to President al-Bashir

26 Feb, 2014 | Press Releases

Brussels-Rome, 26 February 2014


President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan is reportedly attending the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) summit held in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from 26-27 February 2014. However, President al-Bashir is subject to an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the civilian population in Darfur. As a State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the DRC is obliged to arrest any person against whom the Court has issued an arrest warrant. No Peace Without Justice, together with other human rights groups, strongly criticised President al-Bashir’s previous visits to several African countries with total impunity over the last few years. Not only were those visits a lost opportunity to stand with the victims, they significantly undermined the credibility of the host countries’ commitment to justice for mass atrocities in Darfur and globally.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) call on the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to fulfil its obligations as a State Party of the ICC and enforce the arrest warrant against President al-Bashir while he remains on their territory.

“It is quite shocking that DRC has allowed this to happen. They have recognised the usefulness of the ICC and its crucial role in the fight for justice and accountability by joining the Court. More than that, alongside Uganda and the Central African Republic, they have directly benefited from the Court through their voluntarily referral of mass violations of international law committed in their territory. Instead of harbouring a fugitive from the Court and granting him impunity, the DRC should demonstrate the credibility of its commitment to be on the side of the victims and not of those who allegedly bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes they endured.

“We welcome today’s statement by the President of the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties reminding the DRC of her obligations and speaking against this kind of non-cooperation. We also call on the ICC itself and all of its States Parties to speak out strongly against the DRC’s ongoing embrace of President al-Bashir and to use all possible channels to press its Government to execute the ICC arrest warrant before he leaves the country. In previous years, sadly, a number of States parties to the ICC have violated their obligations under the Rome Statute by receiving Omar Al Bashir with impunity on their territory. The Court and States Parties, as well as UN Security Council as the body that referred Darfur to the ICC in the first place, should to be prepared to take promptly all necessary and appropriate measures to address this failing, if the DRC decides to follow the same path and disregards its obligation to ensure the enforcement of the Court’s decisions.

“Ten years after the start of the conflict in Darfur, widespread and systematic violations of international human rights and humanitarian law continue unabated. Darfur’s civilian population continues to be targeted by government forces, with the ongoing widespread occurrence of sexual and gender-based violence and crimes against human rights defenders, civil society members and community leaders to name but a few crimes. We urge the DRC to stand up for the rights of the people of Sudan and Darfur to reparations and the establishment of truth and justice.”

For further information, contact Alison Smith on or +32-2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-3915.