Earlier today, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, formally requested an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur during the last five years.

This is the first request for indictment against a sitting head of state issued by the ICC, but above all Al-Bashir is the first person to be charged for the most serious crime for which the Court has jurisdiction: the crime of genocide.

Statement by Sergio Stanzani and Gianfranco Dell’Alba, President and Secretary General of No Peace Without Justice:

In recent hours, the international press has reported various statements warning  that this request for the indictment of President Al-Bashir may jeopardize the difficult ongoing peace negotiations in Sudan. Even United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has expressed concern as it is the first time that the tribunal in The Hague has charged a sitting head of state“

To these concerns, which are similar to those raised in the media when Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic was indicted by the ICTY and Liberian president Charles Taylor by the Special Court of Sierra Leone, No Peace Without Justice replies that history has demonstrated that a lasting peace cannot be achieved without providing accountability for serious crimes under international humanitarian law.

The Statute of the ICC is one of the most advanced juridical instruments in terms both of the rights of the victims and of the rights of the accused and does not foresee the death penalty for any case.

The international community, and in particular the European Union and all States Parties to the ICC (106 to-date) must support the work of Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo and take action in order to ensure that Sudan cooperates with the Court.

For further information, contact Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3913.