Genocide is still continuing in Darfur and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, already indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), is undertaking “enormous efforts” to cover up the crimes and manipulate the world community, the Court’s prosecutor said today.
“The Government of Sudan is not cooperating with the Court and has conducted no national proceedings against those responsible for the crimes committed,” Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the Security Council.
He noted that in just the last six months, hundreds of civilians in the Darfur region were killed and hundreds of thousands forcibly displaced, while more than 2 million people suffer a subtle form of genocide – genocide by rape and fear.
“President al-Bashir, in accordance with the chamber’s findings, issued the criminal orders to attack civilians and destroy their communities. Logically, President al-Bashir does not want to investigate those who are following his orders. President al-Bashir is using his promises of justice to manipulate the international community and cover up the crimes.”
The ICC in July issued a second arrest warrant for Mr. al-Bashir, adding genocide to the list of charges for crimes he has allegedly committed in war-ravaged Darfur. In March 2009, he became the first sitting head of State to be indicted by the Court, which charged him with two counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity.
“The arrest warrants will not go away,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said. “The legal work is done but the crimes are ongoing. President al-Bashir and his supporters are doing enormous efforts to cover up the crimes and divert the attention of the international community by announcing new strategies and new justice efforts.”
The most recent cover-up statement came in September when Sudan’s special prosecutor for Darfur, Nimr Mohamed, announced investigations in an attack earlier that month that killed at least 37 people and injured at least 50 more. But two weeks later he was replaced by Justice Ministry Under-Secretary Abdel Daim Zamrawi, since when no progress has been reported.
“Until the orders to Government of Sudan forces to commit crimes in Darfur cease, there is no possibility of justice for Darfur,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said.
He said regional organizations such as the Arab League and the African Union were crucial to stopping the crimes, alleviating the humanitarian situation and providing stability to Sudan. “A proper dialogue with them is crucial to achieving these goals,” he added.
Speaking to reporters following his briefing to the Council, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo called rape and fear the “silent weapons” of genocide that slip below the radar of peacekeeping forces in the region, which has been plagued by atrocities since war erupted in 2003 between the Government, supported by the Janjaweed militia, and rebels seeking greater autonomy.