SUDAN WATCH: What's going on? UN says Darfur no longer an emergency while ICC prosecutor says genocide continues in Darfur

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What's going on? UN says Darfur no longer an emergency while ICC prosecutor says genocide continues in Darfur

Oh dear, what is going on? A previous post here today at Sudan Watch quotes the UN as saying that Darfur, in many cases, is no longer an emergency. But, according to a Reuters report copied here below, ICC Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council today that:
"Genocide continues. Rapes in and around the (refugee) camps continue. Humanitarian assistance is still hindered. More than 5,000 displaced persons die each month."
ICC PROSECUTOR WARNS UN AGAINS SUDAN COVERUP
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 03 2008 (Reuters) report by Patrick Worsnip:
The International Criminal Court prosecutor told the United Nations on Wednesday to be prepared to arrest Sudan's president on genocide charges and to guard against any coverup.

ICC judges in the The Hague are considering a request by the prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Campo, for a warrant against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on the charges for crimes in the war-torn Darfur region. A decision is expected next month.

Moreno-Ocampo told the 15-nation U.N. Security Council it "must be prepared. If the judges decide to issue an arrest warrant against President al-Bashir, there will be a need for united and consistent action to ensure its execution."

Moreno-Ocampo accused Bashir of promising ceasefires then ordering bombing raids in Darfur, of denying that mass rapes were taking place and of promising justice while torturing witnesses.

"Genocide continues. Rapes in and around the (refugee) camps continue. Humanitarian assistance is still hindered. More than 5,000 displaced persons die each month," he said.

Bashir's "criminal actions should not be ignored," the prosecutor said. "The international community cannot be part of any coverup of genocide or crimes against humanity."

African and Arab states have criticized Moreno-Ocampo's attempt to bring Bashir before the ICC and suggested the Security Council should delay any proceedings.

In a separate, written report to the council, Moreno-Ocampo called on U.N. member states to back up any arrest warrants by severing nonessential contact with indictees and imposing travel bans and asset freezes on them.

The prosecutor has also requested warrants against three Darfur rebel commanders whose names have not been made public.

Sudan's U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem, accused Moreno-Ocampo of "political blackmail."

"He's increasingly transforming the ICC into a tool that has nothing to do with justice," Abdalhaleem told Reuters, adding that most countries in the world want the Security Council to suspend the investigation against Bashir.

U.N. officials say up to 300,000 people have been killed since the Darfur conflict erupted five years ago and that 2.7 million have been driven from their homes. Khartoum says 10,000 people have died. (Editing by Doina Chiacu)
Note the prosectuor's sweeping statement: "More than 5,000 displaced persons die each month". Surely of the 4.7 million people in Darfur currently receiving UN aid, many thousands are expected to die each month anyway - as is the case each month in every other country. What is Mr Moreno-Ocampo basing his numbers on? Is he implying 5,000 Darfurians are killed each month as a result of conflict?

Here's another thing. Since when was it proven that Darfur was or is genocide? Mr Moreno-Ocampo behaves like judge and jury. The text here below that I have highlighted in red seem to me to be statements of opinion, not facts. Mr Moreno-Ocampo sounds like he has a vendetta against the Sudanese government. He does not appear to be even handed.

Aren't people accused of genocide innocent until proven guilty? When people's lives, reputations and country are at stake, including the security of neighbouring countries, facts and evidence are what we expect from the ICC, not speculation and opinion from the one and only prosecutor. Shame on the ICC for allowing such brazen and damaging unprofessional remarks. To be fair, perhaps Mr Moreno-Ocampo has been working too hard and needs a holiday. Or, who knows what's really going on behind the scenes, maybe he is on his way out.

Here's another reason I can think of. Since Mr Bashir is being blatantly prejudged by the ICC he could never get a fair trial as too much stuff was floated in public. I know what I am trying to say but am too tired right now to find the right words.

Right now I am feeling deflated and disillusioned by so many twisted lies and machinations in the press. I actually feel sorry for Mr Bashir because I believe he has worked tirelessly to hold Sudan together and has done a good job. Sudan could so easily have gone under and turned into a Somalia. Sudan is not a failed state as some pundits predicted, thanks to Mr Bashir and his hardworking team. They deserve more credit and respect. Some readers here might find it odd but I find reports out of Sudan more truthful than those bandied around by Western groups driven by self interest.

The other reason I feel so disappointed is that this latest news from the ICC is music to the rebels ears and emboldens them along with millions of their uneducated followers sitting doing nothing at the expense of millions of hardworking, law abiding tax payers around the world. I wish that Britain would stop sending aid to Africa and have a rethink. We are now in a recession and cannot afford to waste more money on lowlife rebels and their followers when the lives of our own citizens are at risk because of a shortage of resources for adequate medical care, medicines and fuel for heating. Poor people are also suffering in the UK. Most Africans don't ever appreciate our help anyway, in fact a lot of them resent it and see it as interfering, harking back to "colonialism". I say let's take a break to take care of our own country and let them get on with theirs.
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IF INDICTED, AL-BASHIR DESTINED TO FACE JUSTICE BEFORE UN COURT
December 03, 2008 Deutsche Presse-Agentur report via Africa News
New York - The United Nations' top prosecutor said Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was destined to face justice if he is indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) later this month for his role in the deadly Darfur conflict.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo earlier this year requested an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region. Moreno-Ocampo said he expects the ICC's judges to rule on his request some time in December.

The ethnic conflict in Darfur has pitted Khartoum-backed Arab militias against African rebel groups, resulting in more than 300,000 deaths since 2005 and more than 2.5 million refugees. The US has labelled the militants' campaign genocide.

Moreno-Ocampo, briefing the UN Security Council in New York on his investigation, accused al-Bashir of 'inciting violence' over the charges and threatening UN peacekeepers in the region.

The UN Security Council originally tasked Moreno-Ocampo with building a case against the perpetrators of war crimes in Darfur. But some have criticized Moreno-Ocampo's case against al-Bashir as politically motivated and endangering ongoing peace talks in the region.

The Arab League and African Union have called on the 15-nation Security Council to block al-Bashir's indictment if it goes ahead. Moreno-Ocampo defended his decision, telling reporters that his job was to 'follow the evidence' wherever it leads.

Two people have already been indicted by the ICC - the country's interior minister and a member of the Arab Janjaweed militia - and Moreno-Ocampo is seeking arrest warrants for four more, including al- Bashir.

Moreno-Ocampo said he has received 'zero' cooperation from the Sudanese government in his investigation but held out hope that al- Bashir would be brought to justice eventually, even if Sudan, as expected, does not deliver him to The Hague-based international court.

'Realistically, I think he will face justice - I don't know (if) in two months or two years,' Moreno-Ocampo said. 'If he is indicted, realistically al-Bashir's destiny is to face justice.'

An ICC indictment means al-Bashir would potentially face arrest any time he travelled outside of Sudan.
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SECURITY COUNCIL MUST ACT IF ARREST WARRANT IS ISSUED FOR SUDAN LEADER - PROSECUTOR

December 03, 2008 UN News Centre report
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today called for concerted action by the Security Council to enforce any arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for allegedly committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur if the judges issue one.

“Genocide continues. Rapes in and around the [internally displaced persons’] camps continue. Humanitarian assistance is still hindered. More than 5,000 displaced persons die each month,” ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in a briefing on the west Sudanese region, where more than five years of fighting between Government forces, allied Janjaweed militia and rebel groups have killed an estimated 300,000 people and driven another 2.7 million from their homes.

“The international community cannot conceal the crimes. President al-Bashir’s criminal actions should not be ignored, statements of ceasefire followed by bombings, denial of massive rapes or promises of justice while torturing the witness should not be supported,” he added, citing numerous such examples that he said had occurred over the past year.

“The international community cannot be part of any cover-up of genocide or crimes against humanity.”

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo requested the arrest warrant in July. “The Council must be prepared. If the judges decide to issue an arrest warrant against President al-Bashir, there will be a need for united and consistent action to ensure its execution,” he told the 15-member body, whose decisions are binding.

Asked at a news conference later what could be realistically expected if a warrant was issued, he replied: “Realistically, I think he will face justice, I don’t know if in two months, or two years.” He said that in the case of a warrant, within Sudan it would be up to the courts to act, but Mr. al-Bashir would be arrested if he flew around the world.

Referring to the joint UN-African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the prosecutor told the Council peacekeepers and aid workers should not be forced to work in an environment where the crimes they are trying to prevent are ordered by Mr. al-Bashir himself. “In such an environment, their efforts will never be enough,” he added.

The prosecutor said three human rights defenders were arrested in Khartoum last week and tortured for giving information to the ICC and that so-called “suspected ICC witnesses” are arrested and tried for treason.

Mr. al-Bashir used the illusion of militia/Janjaweed autonomy for years to disguise the Darfur conflict as a tribal one and “this helped him to continue to carry out the genocide in the face of international scrutiny,” he added.

The ICC has already issued arrest warrants for Ahmad Muhammad Harun, former Minister of State for the Interior and currently Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb. Mr. Moreno-Ocampo has also requested arrest warrants for three rebel commanders, whose names have not yet been disclosed, for their role in last year’s deadly attack against peacekeepers in Darfur.
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Snapshot of Google's newsreel Wed 03 Dec 2008 22:57 GMT

ICC Prosecutor Warns of Possible Sudanese Reprisals if Bashir ...
Voice of America - 1 hour ago
By Margaret Besheer The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that the court might soon decide ...

ICC prosecutor: Sudan leader 'inciting violence'
The Associated Press - 1 hour ago
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court cautioned the UN Wednesday to be prepared for reprisals in Darfur if he ...

Darfur genocide continues: ICC prosecutor
AFP - 2 hours ago
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — The government of Sudan is still supporting genocide in Darfur, including through rape and holding up humanitarian aid, ...

UN 'must' support Bashir arrest
Aljazeera.net, Qatar - 3 hours ago
Louis Moreno-Campo told the UN Security Council that should the court decide to issue a warrant for al-Bashir's arrest there should be there will be "united ...

UN urged to support Sudan arrest
BBC News, UK - 4 hours ago
The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has warned the UN Security Council not to shield Sudan's president if the court issues an arrest warrant. ...

Prosecutor warns UN to prepare for Darfur ruling
The Associated Press - 5 hours ago
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court cautions "it is time to be prepared" for reprisals in Darfur if he obtains a ...

Rape as genocide
International Herald Tribune, France - 7 hours ago
By David Scheffer 'In this society if you rape one woman, you have raped the entire tribe" - so said one observer of the mass rape occurring in Darfur. ...

Roger Cohen: A court for a new America
International Herald Tribune, France - 7 hours ago
By Roger Cohen THE HAGUE: Of the many issues that have soured relations between Europe and the United States under the Bush administration, few have been as ...

Rights Groups: Sudan Lying About Improvements in Darfur
Voice of America - Dec 2, 2008
By VOA News 15 human rights organizations said in a joint report released Tuesday, the Sudanese government is lying about improvements in the situation in ...

Eighth report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal ...
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland - 26 minutes ago
1. The present report is submitted by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) pursuant to paragraph 8 of UN Security Council Resolution ...

If indicted, Al-Bashir destined to face justice before UN court
Monsters and Critics.com - 2 hours ago
New York - The United Nations' top prosecutor said Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was destined to face justice if he is indicted by the ...

Security Council must act if arrest warrant is issued for Sudanese ...
UN News Centre - 2 hours ago
3 December 2008 – The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today called for concerted action by the Security Council to enforce any arrest ...

ICC prosecutor warns UN against shielding Bashir
New Sudan Vision, Canada - 3 hours ago
Ocampo said UN members should respect judges’ decision should it issue arrest warrants of Sudanese president. December, 3, 2008 (NSV) - International ...

ANALYSIS: ICC arrest warrant for Sudan president likely to be ...
Sudan Tribune, Sudan - 15 hours ago
By Wasil Ali December 2, 2008 (WASHINGTON) — A long awaited decision by the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the indictment of Sudanese ...

ICC prosecutor warns UN against Sudan coverup
Reuters UK, UK - 2 hours ago
By Patrick Worsnip UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court prosecutor told the United Nations on Wednesday to prepare to arrest Sudan's ...

ICC prosecutor warns UN against Sudan coverup
Reuters UK, UK - 4 hours ago
By Patrick Worsnip UNITED NATIONS, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court prosecutor told the United Nations on Wednesday to be prepared to ...

ICC Prosecutor urges UN members to implement decision on Sudanese ...
African Press Agency, Senegal - 6 hours ago
APA-The Hague (Netherlands) In his briefing to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur on Wednesday, the Prosecutor of the ...

High noon in Darfur
WorldNetDaily, OR - 16 hours ago
Sudan's president, Gen. Omar al-Bashir, is scared. Having flimflammed the United Nations and flouted its resolutions warning him to stop the mass killings ...
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Here's Nicholas Kristof's opinion piece at NY Times blog December 3, 2008::
Arresting President Bashir

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, briefed the U.N. Security Council today on his investigation of genocide in Darfur. Moreno Ocampo indicted Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir, in July for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and the court is expected to issue the arrest warrant in January or perhaps February, so he used his speech to urge the Security Council to get ready:
If Security Council members can act together, the crimes will stop and millions of lives will be saved. If different interests prevent a strong and consistent position in support of the Court’s decisions, if they give room to false promises, rapes will continue, destruction will continue. An opportunity is coming. A united Security Council can make a difference…. No political support, no financial aid should be provided to those individuals subject of an arrest warrant or those protecting them. For those assisting the indictees, individual travel bans and freezing of assets should be considered as appropriate….An indicted person travelling on the territory of an UN member State should be arrested and surrendered to the Court.
The Bush and Obama administrations need to work with other countries to prepare for the indictment. It’s absolutely certain that the court will issue the arrest warrant in some form. There is a possibility that the counts will not include genocide, but only crimes against humanity and war crimes, but in any case the arrest warrant is coming and we need to get ready. If we can ensure that there is a united front around the world — particularly including China and African countries — then Bashir will be out by spring. If, for example, China sent word that it wouldn’t transfer weapons to Sudan if its head of state were an indicted war criminal, then Sudan’s elites would quickly throw Bashir under the bus (and there are lots of rumors that such a step may be coming).

So lets hope that the indictment will be a step toward an end to the Darfur genocide, and that U.N. member countries will agree to cut ties with Bashir once he is indicted. We have a ray of hope in Darfur now, for the first time in a long while.
I couldn't disagree more. See Sudan Watch Thursday, August 21, 2008: Sudan's leader al-Bashir says ready to go to war.

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