Darfur, Sudanese Diaspora Leaders Worldwide Issue Letter of Support for Bashir Arrest Warrant, Accountability in Darfur
March 4, 2009
"To: Member States of United Nations Security Council
As concerned leaders of Darfuri and Sudanese diaspora organizations and communities, we would like to express our gratitude to the United Nations Security Council for authorizing and continuing to allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate crimes in Darfur. Without the Council's support, we could not today be welcoming the ICC's decision to issue an arrest warrant for the president of the Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. We equally commend the ICC for its commitment to justice for our people who have waited too long to see their concerns addressed.
Omar Hassan al-Bashir has used janjaweed militia and his Sudanese government forces to carry out a vicious campaign against our people. Hundreds of thousands of Darfuri civilians have died since 2003. Thousands of our sisters have been brutally raped and millions of our people must still seek refuge in displaced persons and refugee camps. While we are disappointed that the Court failed to charge al-Bashir with genocide, we applaud the judges' decision to seek his arrest so that he may face trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Over the last several months, al-Bashir's regime and his allies have tried to argue that allowing the ICC to continue its investigations in Darfur would hurt efforts to negotiate peace and improve security in the region. They called for the investigation into al-Bashir's crimes to be suspended under Article 16 of the ICC statute. As Darfuri and Sudanese diaspora leaders, we were far too familiar with the manipulative tactics of the Khartoum government to believe its rhetoric. We strongly rejected Khartoum's arguments, and we called on the U.N. Security Council to support the pursuit of justice for Darfur. We are heartened that the Council heard our calls as the victims of the ongoing genocide and did not give in to al-Bashir's campaign for impunity.
We believe that the ICC sets an example for international institutions. It promotes global peace through the pursuit of justice and can prove that no one is above the law by holding al-Bashir accountable. Therefore, we urge the Council to support the ICC and to ensure that al-Bashir and other architects and perpetrators of the genocide against our people are arrested and brought to justice.
For us, the ICC's work and the warrant for al-Bashir's arrest represent a chance to finally end not only these crimes, but decades of injustice that the people of Darfur and the Sudanese at large have suffered. The Security Council must now send a strong signal that impunity for crimes in Darfur will no longer be tolerated. It must ensure that al-Bashir and others wanted by the ICC are turned over to the Court for trial. We believe this will not only yield justice in Darfur, but will also protect our brothers and sisters in other lands by deterring those who would follow in al-Bashir's footsteps.
As Darfuri and Sudanese diaspora leaders, we believe there will be no lasting peace in Sudan without justice and accountability. We again thank the U.N. Security Council for allowing the pursuit of justice in Darfur to begin. We call upon all member states of the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Security Council to continue to support efforts to ensure that al-Bashir and others who have sought to destroy our people are brought to justice.
Darfuri and Sudanese Representatives of Diaspora Organizations and Communities in North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East."