Sunday, December 25, 2011

Genocide in Darfur remains critical

by Brandt Gelman

Daniel Solomon, a junior at Georgetown University and national student director of STAND (the student-led division of United Against Genocide), traveled to Pittsburgh this past weekend to impart one message: The genocide taking place in Sudan “is not over.”

Speaking at local venues during his stay in Pittsburgh, Solomon, a Jewish student leader, captivated audiences with his wealth of knowledge on the issues taking place in the Sudan and his immense enthusiasm to inspire a means for global change.

He addressed audiences at the Hillel Jewish University Center and Congregation Beth Shalom.

One driving factor behind Solomon’s trip to Pittsburgh was the area’s commitment to widening STAND’s influence on a global level. With core chapters at the University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, Solomon was anxious to connect with many young adults who share the same passion as he does to create change within our world.

“The change we want to take place is not something that can happen overnight,” Solomon said. “It is great to see how many students have the desire to commit to organizations such as STAND, to help bring change to the world.” Read more: >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, December 18, 2011

ICC prosecutor: Sudanese president’s ‘destiny’ is to face justice for alleged war crimes

UNITED NATIONS — The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said Thursday that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s “destiny” is clear: he will face justice for alleged genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Luis Moreno Ocampo said it took 18 years to arrest all 161 people indicated by the U.N. tribunal prosecuting war crimes in former Yugoslavia, and al-Bashir will eventually be arrested and handed over to the ICC.

“International justice is here to stay,” he told a news conference after briefing the U.N. Security Council. “It will take time but the destiny is clear. He will face justice.”

Moreno Ocampo said all countries — including Sudan — have a legal obligation under the Security Council resolution that referred the Darfur conflict to the court in 2005 to arrest al-Bashir and two other Sudanese indicted by the ICC.

Sudan’s U.N. Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman disputed Moreno Ocampo’s allegations of war crimes against Sudanese officials, stressing that Sudan is not a party to the Rome statute that established the court “and we do not recognize the ICC.”

Moreno Ocampo said that at the closed Security Council meeting there was “full support for arrest warrants issued” by the court.Read more >>>>>>>>

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Darfur: Civil Society Organizati​ons submit letters to UN, EU and The Internatio​nal Criminal Court

15 December 2011

Civil Society Organizations urge UN, EU, AU and AL
to help ICC implement UNSC resolution 1593

Your Excellency,

UN Security Council referred the investigation of atrocity crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court in March 2005 (Resolution 1593). Since then The Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, conducted investigations which resulted in the indictment of 7 people including Darfur movement leaders and the president of The Sudan.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued warrants for the arrest of Sudan's president and other senior government officials. To date, none has appeared before the Court. The Court does not have the ability to arrest them. It is the responsibility of the member states of the United Nation to honour the resolution adopted by The Security Council.

We thank the Chief Prosecutor for his efforts during the last nine years and we are looking forward to cooperating with the new Chief Prosecutor of the court in relation to the situation in Darfur, the Sudan.

We the undersigned civil society organizations urge member states of The United Nation, the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League to fully cooperate with The International Criminal Court to implement its mandate and prosecute those indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

The undersigned:

A.I, Secretary-General
Kassab Refugee Camp, Kuttum, Sudan

Hussain Begira, Chair person
Darfur Union, UK & Ireland

Abdelbagi Jibril, Executive Director
Darfur Relief & Documentation Centre, Switzerland

Ahmed M. Mohamedain
Darfur Union, The Netherlands

Adeeb Yousif, Executive Director
Darfur Reconciliation and Development Organization (DRDO), USA

Darfourie Association in French (ACDF), France

Mohammed Esmail, Executive Director
Darfur Committee Association (DCA), South Africa

Abdelhadi Abakr, Chairman
Darfur Call, The Netherlands

Ahmed Haroun, Chairman
Darfur Association, Norway

Sabir Abu Saadia
Darfur Solidarity Group, South Africa,

Mahjob Abdalla
Darfur Diaspora Association – Canada

Abdalmageed S. Haroun, Chairperson
Human Rights & Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND), USA

Mohamed A Muhagir, Financial secretary
Association of Darfur Reporters and Journalists, Netherlands

Niemat Ahmadi, President and Founder
Darfur Women Action Group, USA

Abdelaazim Tabag, Secretary of Communications
Darfur Association, Belgium

Mohamed Suleiman
Darfuri Activist, California, U.S.A

Mohamed Adam Al-hassan, Executive Director
Social Peace Initiative for Darfur (SPID), Netherlands

Mustafa Siry Suliman
Journalist, Manchester UK

Gibril Hamid
Darfur Friedens- und Entwicklungs-Zentrum, Switzerland

Friday, December 02, 2011

ICC Prosecutor Presents New Case in Darfur

Today the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, requested Pre-Trial Chamber I to issue an arrest warrant against the current Sudanese Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004.
The evidence allowed the Office of the Prosecutor to conclude that Mr. Hussein is one of those who bears the greatest criminal responsibility for the same crimes and incidents presented in previous warrants of arrest for Ahmed Harun and Ali Kushayb issued by the Court on 27 April 2007. Mr. Hussein was then Minister for the Interior for the Government of Sudan and Special Representative of the President in Darfur, with all of the powers and responsibilities of the President. Mr. Hussein delegated some of his responsibilities to Mr. Harun, the Minister of State for the Interior, whom he appointed to head the “Darfur Security Desk.”
The crimes were perpetrated during attacks upon the towns and villages of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar and Arawala in the Wadi Salih and Mukjar Localities of West Darfur. The attacks followed a common pattern: the Government of Sudan forces surrounded the villages, the Air Force dropped bombs indiscriminately and foot soldiers, including Militia/Janjaweed, killed, raped and looted the entire village, forcing the displacement of 4 million inhabitants. Currently, 2.5 million remain in camps for Internally Displaced Persons.
In the “Prosecution v. Harun & Kushayb” case, Pre-Trial Chamber I ruled that Local Security Committees coordinated these attacks. They were supervised by State Security Committees which reported to Mr. Harun, who in turn, according to the evidence, reported to Mr. Hussein. “The evidence shows that this was a state policy supervised by Mr. Hussein to ensure the coordination of attacks against civilians”, said Moreno-Ocampo.
“Moreover, the evidence shows that directly and through Mr. Harun, Mr. Hussein played a central role in coordinating the crimes, including in recruiting, mobilizing, funding, arming, training and the deployment of the Militia/Janjaweed as part of the Government of the Sudan forces, with the knowledge that these forces would commit the crimes,” said the Prosecutor.

The Prosecutor considered that Mr. Hussein should be arrested in order to prevent him from continuing with the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.

After careful consideration, the Office of the Prosecutor has decided to publicly seek a warrant against Mr. Hussein to encourage further public focus on Government of the Sudan policy and actions, and promote cooperation in taking action to arrest Mr. Hussein and the 3 other individuals subject to ICC warrants, as established by UN Security Council Resolution 1593 (2005).

The Prosecutor emphasized that Mr. Hussein is presumed innocent and will be given full rights and the opportunity to defend himself. Pre-Trial Chamber I will review the evidence and make a decision on the Prosecution’s request.
This is the fourth case of the International Criminal Court in Darfur. To date, ICC judges have issued arrest warrants against Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb - for crimes against humanity and war crimes; warrants of arrest against Omar Al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; and summonses to appear for rebel leaders Abdallah Banda, Saleh Jerbo and Abu Garda for war crimes.

The Prosecutor will brief the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur on 15 December 2011 at UN Headquarters.

For more information:
Florence Olara
OTP Public Information Officer
+31 70 515 8723 (office)
+31 65 029 4476 (cell)

Pesident Omer al-Bashir trepidation over arrest

By Steve Paterno,

December 1, 2011 — Since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against President Omar al-Bashir in March of 2009, just overnight, the dictator became prisoner within the confines of his own country, as he risks apprehension in any case he travels abroad. In search for solution, the regime then mounted fierce diplomatic campaign to circumvent the ICC authority and have charges leveled against President al-Bashir be dropped. These alleged charges are horrendous. They are ten counts in total, ranging from crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide; for the ethnic cleansing that President al-Bashir is waging in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Unfortunately, the regime’s diplomatic bid didn’t render any considerable support that it desperately needed. Instead, the regime is only able to win the sympathy of a handful of insignificant and reluctant allies, who are toothless to foil ICC legal proceedings, which is taking the life of its own, with devastating toll against President al-Bashir’s reign.
Cornered, President al-Bashir had no choice but ended up considering to limit his visitations to those only few countries he thinks are sympathetic to him. Even then, those limited visitations come with surmountable risks. For example, President al-Bashir was invited during the inauguration of South African President Jacob Zuma in May of 2009, and the same officials who invited him, warned that if he ever showed, they will be forced to lock him up. This is also a similar case in Uganda, where President al-Bashir was invited on several occasions, but the potential for his arrest is left open. In all these incidents, President al-Bashir dropped the invitations all together, for fearing the obvious.
In some of President al-Bashir’s daring trips, he miraculously survived near arrest scares. The regime in Khartoum is always afraid of the danger that President al-Bashir’s plane would likely face midair flight diversion in some of the hostile airspace, which will eventually lead into his detention. He actually came too close to facing this scenario in June of this year when he was flying from Iran en route to China, only to encounter refusal for passage through the airspace of countries ready to arrest him. When President al-Bashir’s flight was diverted back into Tehran, his Chinese sympathizers were uncomfortably at lost and those in Khartoum confirmed their worst fear.

Those in Khartoum also happened to discover midair flight diversion was not the only danger President al-Bashir faces when he decides to travel abroad. For example, in one of President al-Bashir’s trips to Ethiopia, he was stuck inside his plane at Mekele Airport, because the airport crew could not bring the boarding ladder on time. The anxieties of President al-Bashir and those of his entourage were further exacerbated when they caught a sight of a plane bearing USA flag taxing near them. Their expressed mood was of “severe panic” that it was the end. Even though this was a false alarm, the tyrant never takes chances in these situations, knowing too well his ultimate fate.

President al-Bashirs other defiant trips are just outright embarrassing, such as in 2009, in Qatar where the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva declined to sit next to President al-Bashir at a banquet organized for Arab and South American states summit and Argentinian President refused to take a group photo that included President al-Bashir. Who in their right sense could accept the offer to feast next to an infamous international fugitive with bloods of innocent lives on his hands or even be in the same photo with such a character.

The isolationism of President al-Bashir is further amplified by the wave of Arab Spring, which witnessed some of his fellow Arab-Islamic military dictators dramatically losing power, such is in the case of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who is currently rotting in prison or the Libyan Colonel Maumar Gaddafi who was chased down the streets of his own hometown of Sirte and then smothered to death.

Kenya is one of the latest countries that deprived President al-Bashir of his limited freedom of travel. In 2010, President al-Bashir made a controversial trip to Kenya in order to attend a signing ceremony of Kenyan constitution. The visit put Kenyan government in awkward position as it received condemnations from all over the world. As a result, the Kenyan local chapter of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) petitioned the court to rule on the arrest warrant against President al-Bashir. Just this week, the Kenyan high court issued a landmark ruling, ordering the minister of internal security to immediately execute the arrest of President al-Bashir should he set foot in Kenya again. This ruling is significant not just because it bars President al-Bashir from traveling to Kenya, but it also sets legal precedent for justice loving people throughout Africa to compel their governments to execute the arrest warrant of international fugitives like President al-Bashir through the court system.

Although the regime in Khartoum is trying to downplay the significance of the Kenyan high court ruling, President al-Bashir took the matter upon himself by expelling Kenyan ambassador from Khartoum and recalling back Sudanese ambassador from Nairobi. Khartoum’s severance of diplomatic relation with Nairobi comes in wake of East African Community (EAC) denying Sudanese application of trying to join the community—the indication that Sudan is being immensely plunged into the abyss of isolationism. Sudan needs to do many things for it to join the family of nations, and among those things it could do is getting rid of President al-Bashir once and for all.

Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at