(Washington, D.C.) December 7, 2007: The ENOUGH Project hails yesterday’s passing of the Genocide Accountability Act of 2007 as a huge step toward bringing the perpetrators of genocide to justice.
The legislation, introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and passed with strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, would allow the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute foreign nationals in the U.S. suspected of genocide.
“This act is of critical importance as a matter of both principle and policy,” says ENOUGH co-chair Gayle Smith. “If we are to stand up for accountability, the rule of law, and justice, our laws must ensure that non-U.S. citizens who commit acts of genocide can be tried in the United States.”
Current U.S. law fails to provide the Justice Department with the jurisdiction to indict perpetrators of genocide within U.S. territory. The Department reportedly has already identified individuals who may have been involved in the Bosnian and Rwandan genocides and now are living within U.S. borders. If the bill becomes law, these individuals can be indicted.
The legislation is now being sent to the President for his signature. If given the presidential stamp of approval, the bill will be the first piece of legislation to become law by the new Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, created and chaired by Senator Richard Durbin.
“With a live genocide blazing in Darfur, we must send a strong message to those authorizing and executing these egregious crimes that they, too, will be held accountable,” says Smith.
To read Gayle Smith’s testimony in support of the Genocide Accountability Act of 2007, go to: www.enoughproject.org/node/535.