Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Darfuri activists: justice for victims in Darfur cannot wait

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 14 July 2008
Darfuri activists: justice for victims in Darfur cannot wait

Brussels – Reacting to the ICC Prosecutor’s announcement that he has today requested an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, president of Sudan, on charges of genocide, leaders of the Darfuri community in Europe expressed their full support for Ocampo’s work and stressed the importance of the international community’s pursuit of justice for the victims of crimes against humanity in Darfur.
“Our people in Darfur have suffered five years of violence, and no one has been held to account for the terrible crimes committed. We look to the ICC and to the international community to provide justice. The Prosecutor’s announcement today gives us hope that the innocent victims of the conflict in Darfur will not be forgotten, that someday there will be justice for them and dignity for the survivors,” said Ahmed M. Mohamedain, leader of Darfur Call, a Darfuri civil society group based in The Hague.
Darfuri activists have long stressed the importance of pursuing justice while continuing to seek a political resolution to the conflict in Darfur. They have emphasized that the pursuit of justice, far from being incompatible with the peace process, is an important element in moving parties to the conflict away from warfighting in Darfur and towards other solutions.
“Right now, there is no commitment to peace process because everyone is still fighting and committing violent acts, which they know they can do with impunity. If the international community demonstrates that it is serious about justice for the victims in Darfur, it can end this impunity, showing all sides that violence will not be accepted as a solution to Darfur, and showing Darfuri civilians that the world is committed to a fair and just resolution of the conflict,” said Tajeldin A. Adam, leader of the Association of Darfur People in Belgium.
The activists have called especially on the EU to continue to show strong support for the Prosecutor’s work and to insist on Sudanese compliance with the ICC, noting the recent statements from both the Council of Foreign Ministers as well as the European Council (heads of state of the 27 member states) which made clear that the EU will consider further measures against the government of Sudan in the event of continued non-compliance with the ICC.
Abdelbagi Jibril, Executive Director of the Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre, noted: “Those responsible for violence in Darfur are very worried about the ICC. When the case was first referred by the Security Council, there was very little violence in Darfur for nearly six months. This shows that pursuing justice can have an impact on the ground. Khartoum is paying close attention to what the international community says and does, and the EU must remain firm and keep the pressure on.”
For further information contact:

Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (Geneva)
Abdelbagi Jibril: +41 22 747 00 89

Darfur Call (The Hague)
Ahmed M. Mohamedain: +31 642 330 058

Association of Darfur People in Belgium (Brussels)
Tajeldin A. Adam: +32 472 372 137

Darfur Peace And Justice (Brussels)
Mohammadain Ishag: +32 485 698 155

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