HAND Welcomes the Arrest Warrant against Omar Al Bashir on charges of Genocide

Published on HAND, by Maria Behrens, July 13, 2010.

HAND and its member organisations welcome decision No.: ICC-02/05-01/09 adopted by Pre-Trial Chamber 1 of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday, 12 July 2010, and by which the ICC issued a second arrest warrant against President Omar Al Bashir on the charges of genocide. The Court found that President Al Bashir is responsible for three counts of genocide committed against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur. This decision affirmed our long held views that the government of Sudan has indeed committed genocide in Darfur and that top government officials are personally responsible for the commission of this crime.

Genocide in Darfur, in fact, continues unabated manifestly in the deprivation of more than 3 million internally displaced persons and war-affected communities of life-saving material and daily needs like food, medicine, shelter, clean water and sanitation mainly through government policy to expel humanitarian organisations from the region or by premeditated attacks against, killings and abductions of peacekeepers and relief workers.

This landmark decision places certain responsibility on the international community in its efforts to pursue justice for the people of Darfur. This decision should also be considered in tandem with the provisions of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Sudan has acceded to the Genocide Convention in October 2003. Article 1 of the Genocide Convention requires the States parties known as Contracting Parties to “…confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.”

We call on the UN Security Council to convene urgently and reconsider the situation in Darfur in light of the new ICC arrest warrant and the gravity of the humanitarian situation currently prevailing in Darfur. The Security Council should take immediate measures to ensure full cooperation of the government of Sudan under its obligations as a State member of the UN and a Contracting Party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. We further call upon all States to reaffirm their commitment to do justice to the victims of the atrocious acts committed in Darfur and to hold the perpetrators accountable. We therefore look forward to full and unconditional cooperation between all States, especially in Africa and the Middle East, with the ICC and to take the necessary steps to ensure enforcement without delay of this and all other arrest warrants issued by the ICC on Darfur.

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