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Letter urges UNSC to reopen ICC investigations on Darfur

April 1 - 2015 KHARTOUM
Newly displaced people gather under a tree outside Otash camp, South Darfur (worldvision.com.au)
Newly displaced people gather under a tree outside Otash camp, South Darfur (worldvision.com.au)

A group of 78 Sudanese and international humanitarian and human rights organisations sent a letter of concern to the president of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday. The letter marks the tenth anniversary of the referral of the Darfur crisis by the Council to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In the letter, the group refers to Security Council’s Resolution 1593 of 31 March 2005, stating that the Council took a decisive step “to promote the rule of law, protect human rights, and combat impunity” by addressing the violence in Sudan, which it considered “a threat to international peace and security”.

“Ten years ago, the people of Sudan dared to dream of a better future,” the letter reads. Yet, since 2005, “the people of Sudan have experienced further conflict, displacement, humanitarian crises, and widespread human rights violations; far from what was hoped for, despite the ICC ultimately issuing arrest warrants for President Al Bashir, and other high level officials and leaders”.

The organisations point to the continuation of violence against the people in Darfur; the government’s failure to complete the popular consultations in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile; and instead sparking a war in both states; and its refusal to accept a compromise on Abyei proposed by the AU.

“The Sudan government, according to the most recent report by OCHA, has created an environment where 5.4 million Sudanese are vulnerable and require humanitarian assistance, including more than 300,000 in eastern Sudan.”

Further, they refer to the Sudanese facilitation of weapons transfers throughout the continent, which increases threats to international peace and security, and the travelling of President Al Bashir’s travelling to multiple countries without being apprehended, despite ICC arrest warrants for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.

“The Sudan government has created an environment where 5.4 million Sudanese are vulnerable and require humanitarian assistance, including more than 300,000 in eastern Sudan.”

The signatories of the letter urge the Security Council to uphold justice in Sudan for the sake of humanity. In particular, the Security Council should actively pursue the arrest of indicted war criminals, and encourage Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to reopen the court’s investigations. The Sudanese government should be held accountable for its non-cooperation with the ICC, and its failure to bring justice to the people of Darfur.

The Council should also convene a special session on Sudan, and the continuing violence in Darfur, Abyei, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile.

Furthermore, the signatories call on the UN Council to declare that the election in April will not be held in an environment “that would allow for free and fair elections, and should not be considered as legitimate [..]”, referring to a letter, sent by 23 Sudanese civil society organisations to the African Union, urging the body not to dispatch election observers to the country.

The letter concludes with the demand to the Security Council to “consider other measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter that would help end the suffering of the people of Sudan”.

150401 Letter re ICC to UNSC.pdf

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