Don’t Let Bashir Get Away with Murder
March 4, 2020, marks the eleventh anniversary of Sudanese ex-President Omar Al-Bashir’s arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The charges of the warrant included five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes for his actions taking place between at least 2003 and 2008 in Darfur. This initial warrant was later followed by a second warrant issued on July 12, 2010. The second warrant contained charges of three counts of genocide for the ethnic cleansing of the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa tribes.
At the time of his rule, Al-Bashir was the only sitting head of state to be indicted for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the ICC. These warrants, however, did not deter him from continuing to wage his campaign of bombings and civilian attacks in Darfur. Over the course of 17 years of atrocities, 300,000+ men, women, and children were killed in Darfur and over 3 million people were displaced. This is not to mention the victims of Bashir’s extended operations in the vulnerable Sudanese states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Survivors have called for justice, peace, and protection, only to see their plight ignored and suffering prolonged over these years. It is time for Bashir to face the consequences of his crimes.
As noted in Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG)”s previous statement, the Interim Government of Sudan has pledged to transfer Al-Bashir to the Hague in accordance with the arrest warrants. This cautious step toward justice has come delayed – the Interim Government should have immediately surrendered Bashir to the processes of international law and accountability. Furthermore, skepticism surrounds the question of whether Bashir, alongside three other wanted individuals, will actually be extradited and stand trial before the ICC. Until these actions are fully completed, DWAG, alongside the remainder of the international community, must keep a vigilant eye on the situation.
We must reiterate that the arrest and extradition of Bashir can only be the first steps to a long process of justice and healing for the nation of Sudan. The ICC must be well-prepared to successfully prosecute Bashir and his accomplices, as well as be well-equipped to handle the logistics of a full trial. Likewise, the international community will need to continue to commit resources to help protect the Sudanese people, promote sustainable development, and help build democratic institutions. These actions will only be effective if they are done sooner rather than later.
DWAG therefore echoes the calls of its previous statement in urging the Interim Government of Sudan to swiftly transfer the criminal to face trial.
There is no peace without justice and there is no justice without accountability.
Don’t let Bashir get away with murder.