UN og Darfour

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Letter to members of the UN Security Council

Your Excellency,

On December 3, 2008, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo will present his report to the United Nations Security Council on the ICC’s work on the situation in Darfur. The Justice for Darfur campaign, including 48 organizations from around the world, urges you to take this opportunity to express your government’s support for the ICC’s vital work in Darfur.

Over the last five years in Darfur, millions of civilians have suffered the effects of widespread human rights violations, some of which amount to crimes under international law. Indiscriminate attacks against civilians by Sudanese armed forces, supported by allied militia, and by armed opposition groups continue, leaving more than 300,000 people displaced since January 2008. Provision of aid has been increasingly affected by violent attacks against relief workers and growing insecurity. The United Nations (UN) African Union peacekeeping mission sent to protect the people of Darfur continues to be hampered by both government obstruction and ongoing insecurity.

Following the referral of the situation in Darfur to the ICC by the U.N. Security Council in March 2005, the ICC has made an important contribution to the fight against impunity in the region. In April 2007, the ICC issued its first arrest warrants against current State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmad Harun and Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb for their alleged leading roles in the commission of crimes under international law in Darfur. On July 14, 2008, the Prosecutor requested the ICC Pre Trial Chamber to issue an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Last week, the Prosecutor further sought arrest warrants against members of armed opposition groups for their alleged responsibility for crimes committed against African Union peacekeepers in Haskanita in September 2007.

With no real progress to date at the national level towards ensuring accountability and ending impunity for crimes committed in Darfur, the ICC represents the best hope for justice for the victims of Darfur. The U.N. Security Council recognized this role in its June 16, 2008 presidential statement urging the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict to cooperate fully with the Court. We ask you to demonstrate the U.N. Security Council’s continued support for the important work of the ICC and for the victims in Darfur by addressing the following points in your intervention following the Prosecutor’s report:

Affirming that justice is a vital component of both sustainable peace and security in Sudan,
Expressing your commitment to the independence of the ICC and rejecting any attempt to invoke article 16 of the Rome Statute to defer investigation or prosecution of crimes in Darfur by the ICC,
Calling upon Sudan to comply with its obligation to cooperate with the ICC in accordance with Resolution 1593, including by arresting and surrendering any individual subject to outstanding arrest warrants,
Calling on all parties to the conflict to refrain from committing violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and
Emphasizing that the Security Council will not tolerate threats or retaliation against peacekeepers, humanitarian workers or civilians in Darfur for any reason, including in response to the ICC’s investigations in Darfur.

Ending the environment of impunity in Darfur is not only in the interests of the victims there, but of the entire international community.We urge you to demonstrate your support of the ICC’s vital efforts as well as the Council’s resolve to ensure justice for the victims of these heinous crimes.

Sincerely,

Hillel Neuer, Executive Director, UN Watch

Abdourakhmane Souaré, Board Director, Action pour les Droits Humains et l’Amitié –Senegal

Anne-Cécile Antoni, Director, Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la Torture – France

James Smith, Chief Executive, Aegis Trust

Lamine Kaba, President, Action de la jeunesse Guinéenne pour l’Aide au Développement et à la Prospérité – Guinea Conakry

Nikki Serapi, Director, Americans Against the Darfur Genocide

Widney Brown, Senior Director International Law, Amnesty International

Nasser Amin, Director, Arab Center for Independence of the judiciary and the legal profession – Egypt

Georges Kapiamba, Vice-President, Association Africaine des droits de l’homme – Congo

Nasser H. Burdestani, Executive Coordinator, Bahrain Coalition for ICC

Abdulla Alderazi, Secretary General, Bahrain Human Rights Society

Moataz El Fegiery, Executive Director, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

Ibrahim Badamasi Kamara, Director, Centre for Human Rights – Sierra Leone

Wadih Al Asmar, Secretary General, Centre libanais des Droits Humains

Issa Kané, Président, Cercle de Réflexion et d’Action pour le Développement Economique et Social – Mali

Ibuchukwu Ohabuenyi Ezike, Executive Director, Civil Liberties Organisation – Nigeria

William Pace, Convenor, Coalition for the International Criminal Court

Khalid Cherkaoui Semmouni, Coordinator, Coalition Internationale contre les Abus Sexuels sur les Enfants – Maroc

Jacky Mamou, President, Collectif Urgence Darfour

Ali B. Ali-Dinar, President, Darfur Alert Coalition

Fatima Haroun, President, Darfur Rehabilitation Project

Adeeb Yousif, Chairperson, Darfur Reconciliation and Development Organization

Kayabil Khatir, Secretary General, Darfur Union UK

Robert Schütte, President, Genocide Alert

Samba Churchill Chifu, Founder/CEO, Global Conscience Initiative – Cameroon

Julia Fromholz, Program Director, Human Rights First

Richard Dicker, Director, Human Rights Watch

Mohammad Salimi, Coordinator, Iranian Coalition for the ICC

Caroline Wojtylak, Director, International Criminal Court Student Network

Souhayr Belhassen, President, International Federation for Human Rights

Dismas Nkunda, Co Director, International Refugee Rights Initiative

Karam Saber, Director, Land Center for Human Rights

Jean Baptiste Bosongo, President, Lufalanga Group for Justice and Peace

Alison Smith, Coordinator of the International Justice Program, No Peace without Justice

Aryeh Neier, President, Open Society Institute

David Donat Cattin, Director, Parliamentarians for Global Action

Hassan Greeve, Chairman, Prepared Society – Kenya

Chris Baruti, President, Recherches et Documentation Juridiques Africaines

Sarah Kaiser, Director, Rene Cassin

Hannes Honecker, Executive Director, Republikanischer Anwältinnen- und Anwälteverein

Tara Tavender, Executive Director, Save Darfur Canada

Jerry Fowler, Président, Save Darfur Coalition

Tilman Zülch, President, Society for Threatened Peoples International

Adetokunbo Mumuni, Director, Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Project – Nigeria

Hannah Logan, Coordinator, Sudan Organisation Against Torture

Jiri Kopal, Chair, The League of Human Rights – Czech Republic

Louise Roland-Gosselin, Executive Director, Waging Peace

Sadikh Niass, Coordinator, West African Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons Network – Senegal

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