Last week, Congressman Alcee Hastings introduced House Resolution 241, commending the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir earlier this month. Several members of Congress have released statements advocating the court’s decision, but this resolution marks the first formal legislative action supporting Bashir’s arrest warrant.
Addressing the House of Representatives, Hastings called the ICC’s action, "a major step forward in the name of justice, humanity, and rule of law." Hastings acknowledged that the international court’s warrant by no means heralds an end to the conflict in Darfur, but said it is movement in the right direction. “No leader who commits such horrific crimes should be allowed to remain free,” Hastings said. The warrant for Bashir represents a very important precedent. “When the international community begins to hold leaders responsible for their unconscionable crimes, we begin to prevent such abuses from occurring in the future,” Hastings said. The congressman also commended activists and human rights groups for “keeping up the pressure” and compelling the international community to act.
A bipartisan group of twelve members sponsored the resolution. Among them is freshman Virginia Democrat Tom Perriello, whose experience working at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which is currently prosecuting Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, makes him uniquely qualified to comment on the ICC’s action.
Click here to read Congressman Hastings’s press release in support of his resolution.