Monday, March 2, 2009
For Immediate Release by
Darfur People’s Assn. of NY
The Brooklyn-based Darfur People’s Association of NY will be joined by Darfuris from throughout the United States, and by local advocacy groups, to express gratitude to the
United Nations Security Council for authorizing, and not impeding, the
International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation into, and prosecution of, government-sponsored crimes in Darfur. From 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, 2009, we will rally in Dag Hammarskjold Park on East 47th Street, near the Sudan Mission, to acknowledge that, without the
Security Council’s support, we could not welcome
on March 4th the expected decision by the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber I to issue an
arrest warrant for Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, responsive to the ICC
Prosecutor’s application for said warrant based on charges of genocide,
crimes against humanity, and
war crimes. We commend the ICC Prosecutor, judges, and staff for their perseverance in seeking justice for our people, who have waited so long for our plight to be addressed in a legal forum where accountability can reign. We pray that attention to past crimes will lead to an end to ongoing violence against our people.
President al-Bashir has used local janjaweed militia and Sudan government military forces to conduct a vicious campaign against our people, causing at least 500,000 deaths since 2003. Thousands of our sisters have been brutally raped and abandoned. Millions of our people still seek refuge in internally-displaced person and refugee camps, a process that can separate family members permanently. Thousands of our villages have been destroyed, and our water polluted.
In the months since ICC judges received the case against al-Bashir, he and his allies have argued that continuation of ICC investigations and prosecutions related to Darfur would hurt efforts to negotiate peace and improve security there. They have asked the
U.N. Security Council to suspend the ICC's activities on Darfur pursuant to Article 16 of the ICC-founding Rome Statute. We in the diaspora, and all Darfuris, have rejected
Khartoum’s manipulative arguments, and have urged the Security Council to let the ICC investigations and prosecutions to continue. We are heartened that the Council has heard our cries as victims of genocide, crimes against humanity, and
war crimes, and has not capitulated to al-Bashir’s campaign for impunity involving his past and ongoing crimes.
We remain fearful of al-Bashir’s threats against peacekeepers, humanitarian workers, and Darfuri civilians if an
arrest warrant is issued for him. The international community never should tolerate such threats, and immediately should provide all protective support needed to prevent loss of innocent lives in response to the ICC arrest warrant.
We believe the ICC has set an example for international institutions that all are capable of achieving global peace by pursuing justice. By holding al-Bashir accountable, the ICC has proven that no one is above the law. We urge the Security Council to further support the ICC by ensuring that al-Bashir and other architects and perpetrators of crimes against our people are arrested and turned over to the ICC for trial. Do not forget that the ICC issued
arrest warrants in 2007 for Sudan government official Ahmad Harun and
Ali Kushayb, but they remain free, and Harun now is Sudan’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs. We believe that arresting al-Bashir, Harun, and Kushayb, and bringing them to trial, not only will bring us justice but also will protect our brothers and sisters elsewhere by deterring tyrants who consider following the treacherous footsteps of the al-Bashir regime. We urge Member States of the ICC and
Security Council to fulfill their responsibility to assist in the arrest of anyone for whom the ICC issues a warrant.
As Darfuris, we believe there can be no lasting peace in Sudan without accountability and justice for all perpetrators of
crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. We again thank the
U.N. Security Council for allowing the ICC to proceed with investigations and prosecutions regarding Darfur.
Darfur People’s Association of New York
2211 Church Ave 2FL Brooklyn, NY 11226.