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Press Release: ICC Arrest Warrant for Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan

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Press Release: ICC Arrest Warrant for Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan

Posted by Enough Team on March 4, 2009

 For Immediate Release

February 19, 2009

Contact
Eileen White Read, 202.741.6376
eread@enoughproject.org

STATEMENT: ICC Arrest Warrant for Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan
                             

March 4, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir, a historic action that marks the first time the tribunal has acted against a sitting head of state. The charges stem from a July 2008 request by ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and include crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The warrant specifically did not include the charges of genocide requested by the Chief Prosecutor last July.

 The Enough Project issued the following statement in response:

 "The International Criminal Court arrest warrant for President Omer al-Bashir provides an unprecedented opening, making Sudan’s prospects for peace riper than they have been in memory,” said John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project. “How the Obama administration handles this immediate foreign policy challenge will have a major impact on the outcome. It is crucial for the new president’s team to clarify to Arab states, China and others that the U.S. policy objective is a just and durable peace for Sudan.”

 John Norris, The Enough Project’s Executive Director, added, “This message should be heard loudly and clearly around the globe: If you kill, maim, and rape your own citizens, there will be a cost for your actions. I hope other tyrants and warlords around the globe are taking note. Slobodan Milosevic, Charles Taylor, and now, President Bashir were only willing to learn the hard way. There are now millions of activists around the United States that expect the Obama Administration to make both peace and justice a priority in Sudan.”

The issuance of an arrest warrant for Sudan’s sitting head of state for crimes against humanity offers the Obama administration a chance to catalyze multilateral efforts to bring about a solution to Sudan’s decades-long cycle of warfare. One of the crucial missing ingredients to conflict resolution efforts has been some form of accountability for the horrific crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated by the warring parties in Sudan, primarily the Khartoum regime.

President Obama should now take a number of key steps, including:

·         Working with the U.N. Security Council to support targeted sanctions against those most responsible for violence in Sudan and imposing a comprehensive arms embargo against the Government of Sudan;

·         Making the United Nations Mission in Darfur effective,  with a robust force on the ground in Darfur with a competent lead nation and a clear command-and-control structure;

·         Working closely with interested parties with leverage in Sudan and the region, especially China, the United Kingdom, France, and key African countries, to coordinate efforts on peace efforts, the protection of civilians, and accountability;

·         Countering continued violations by Sudan on the UN ban on offensive military flights in Darfur; and

·         Appointing a senior Special Envoy to not only address the situation in Darfur, but Sudan’s multiple conflicts and their regional dimensions.

 

Visit the Enough Project’s blog, Enough Said, for updates on this issue.

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The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. To learn more about Enough and what you can do to help, go to www.enoughproject.org.