The International Criminal Court’s top prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has asked the Court to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Moreno-Ocampo has filed 10 charges, including three counts of genocide and five crimes against humanity; the first time charges have been leveled against a current head of state. Sudan rejected the charges and said the prosecutor was politically motivated.
The current violence in Darfur has been ongoing since 2003. The Janjaweed, a government funded Arab militia, has systematically raped and killed hundreds of thousands in Darfur and displaced millions. The situation has been labeled the world’s worst humanitarian crisis by the U.N.
Several major world leaders were quick to respond to the ICC’s statements. France and Britain both supported the Court and urged Sudanese cooperation. The White House has yet to issue a formal opinion, though State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said: "We certainly stand firmly on the side of accountability, and we have been a leading voice in that regard." The Interim Arab Parliament criticized the ICC, saying it was “amazed and dismayed” at the court’s decision. Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, as well as Hillary Clinton, previously released a joint statement demanding an end to the violence in Darfur.
While approval for an arrest warrant may not produce actual results as far as stopping the violence, Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at the Human Rights Watch, said, “This is a huge step in ending the impunity associated with the horrific crimes that have occurred in Darfur.”
The Jewish community has been one of the biggest leaders in fighting genocide in Sudan. More than 50 years after the atrocities of the Holocaust, mass killings and violent hate still plague the world. We must never forget and never tire in our efforts to rid the world of these evils. To find out more information and how you can help, visit Savedarfur.org