FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON – The Enough Project praised the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for publicly requesting the Court to issue an arrest warrant against Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, Sudan’s Defense Minister, for war crimes in the conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region. The Enough Project also released a report citing evidence of Hussein’s war crimes committed in the ongoing conflict along the border with South Sudan.
“An arrest warrant would be helpful in that it would focus responsibility for major war crimes more closely on the senior figures in the armed forces who have consistently targeted civilians in the context of their military operations,” said Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast. “President Bashir and Defense Minister Hussein are part of a small cabal making most of the decisions on war strategy, not just in Darfur but also in the current hot spots of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. They are responsible for the forcible displacement of literally millions of Sudanese over the course of the last eight years, and countless others before that in the North-South war.”
Hussein is the fourth senior Sudanese official targeted by the ICC in the Darfur conflict. The highest profile suspect is Sudanese president Omar al Bashir. The court is not mandated to investigate crimes committed along the border with South Sudan. The Sudan Armed Forces, led by Hussein, has bombed civilians and razed villages during its conflict with rebels in the border areas of Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile since May.
“The world has taken another small step toward accountability for crimes against humanity with this request for an arrest warrant,” Prendergast said. “It is incumbent, however, on state supporters of the ICC to help craft strategies to apprehend the Defense Minister and other suspects so they can ultimately face justice.”
Hussein served as the Minister of Interior between 2003 and 2007, during which his mandate included responsibility for police, the Popular Defense Forces, or PDF, civil defense, drug control, and prisons. While Interior Minister, Hussein also served as Special Representative of the President in Darfur.
As the Minister of Defense since 2007, Hussein adopted in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Abyei the strategy and tactics previously used in Darfur. Though crimes committed in the Three Areas are outside the ICC’s mandate for investigation and arrest, Hussein currently directs the indiscriminate aerial bombing of civilians, forced mass displacement, the use of irregular militias against civilian villages, arbitrary arrest and detention, and extrajudicial killing, just as he did in Darfur. Satellite Sentinel Project has documented and shared with the ICC evidence of five razed towns and villages in the Three Areas and eight sites apparently containing mass graves in South Kordofan.
“The Sudanese army is consolidating power in Sudan, and General Hussein sits at the top of this elaborate system of state-sponsored repression,” Prendergast said. “Hussein is directly complicit in planning and authorizing serious war crimes in Darfur, which are covered by the ICC arrest warrant. But he is also responsible for crimes against humanity in Abyei, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile. It is imperative to bring him to justice not only to create accountability for past crimes in Darfur but also to prevent new atrocities in other regions of Sudan. A mechanism of enforcing the arrest warrant is urgently needed. European supporters of the ICC and the U.S. should support African and other efforts to apprehend Hussein and bring him to The Hague.”
Read the Enough Project fact sheet on Hussein: http://enoughproject.org/