Statement for International Justice Day

Darfur Women Action Group expresses optimism about ICC and outrage against the continuation of genocide in Darfur.

On this day of July 17th, we are proud to commemorate the creation of the International Criminal Court. As the highest international form of accountability it works on the advancement of the global criminal justice, by prosecuting the worlds worst crimes, including genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. In spite of being a newer court, the ICC has successfully been able to investigate crimes, bring charges against suspects, conduct trails and has convicted some of those responsible of committing heinous offenses against innocent civilians. To date, several arrest warrants have been issued for many more criminal, including the arrest warrants against al-Bashir of Sudan. Al-Bashir regrettably remains at large and continues to escape punishment. However, we have greater faith in justice and believe that al-Bashir will certainly one day be taken to the Hague to face trial.

‪ It is worth noting that the ICC, in spite of the persisting challenges, continues to stand firm in protecting the rights of those who have been victimized. The crimes that the ICC has established to address horrific actions committed against the innocent are crimes of a global magnitude. These crimes are not only affecting the targeted communities but they affect our entire global peace and security. Therefore it is quite imperative that on this day, the global communities rally themselves at all levels, including individually and at institutional level, to stand up for justice and provide the material and the moral support needed for the ICC to step up their actions in fighting human rights violations.

‪ On this day we at Darfur Women Action Group stands in solidarity with those who have been victimized by the crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes of aggression, and crimes against humanity. We do this to draw attention to cases currently under the ICC jurisdiction, including the case of Darfur, Sudan where genocide has been going on for eleven years, and continues without any signs of stopping.

‪ President al-Bashir’s actions in Darfur have affected over 4 million men, women and children. His actions have forced over 3 million people to live in camps for years, and they are continuing to be terrorized and are fearful return home. The UN has estimated over 300,000 have been killed since 2006. Today, the number of deaths are far greater than what has been documented due to the restrictions and insecurity imposed by al-Bashir, his government, and the Janjaweed Rapid Support Forces operating directly under his command. Rape has been used as a weapon of war, and countless women and girls have been raped and forced to suffer in silence.

‪ As you now know, Omer al -Bashir stands accused of the most serious international crimes which he has committed in Darfur. According to the ICC, al-Bashir has been charged with 5 counts of crimes against humanity, 2 counts of war crimes, and 5 counts of genocide. However, al-Bashir remains an internationally known fugitive if justice and continues to use every single means in his disposal to evade the international justice by traveling to countries who have made the decision not to cooperate. He has repeatedly visited countries such as Chad, Ethiopia and Qatar. These countries have been enablers to al-Bashir’s crimes and in cooperating with him they are promoting of immunity by falsely assuming that al-Bashir may be able to escape justice.

‪ We call on all who fight for justice in Africa to remind the African leaders that it is imperative that they stand firm for justice at home and internationally by placing the victims first.

‪ Today, we are optimistic more than ever before. It is obvious that the world has changed and the numbers of constituencies fighting against impunity are rapidly growing. Evidence shows that the international leniency for al-Bashir has been narrowing everyday. He is no longer allowed to go to Kenya and Uganda, countries who border Sudan. Furthermore, al-Bashir has lost the legitimacy as a representative of Sudan in most of the important international forums such as the UN General Assembly meetings and in the up-coming US African leaders summit hosted by President Obama.

‪ For these reasons, we ask our readers and DWAG’s supporters to join in celebrating the gains made by the ICC in the past few years and to stand together to fight for more progress. Join us in demanding that the world leaders, including United States, African Union, member states of the ICC and the UNSC, must fulfill their responsibility toward the ICC, the pursuit of justice for the victims, and to ensure that accountability for perpetrators and the accomplices who are aiding the criminal al-Bashir by allowing him to defy ICC warrants.

Thank you!

‪Niemat Ahmadi, and the entire DWAG team

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