For Immediate Release
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) called on members of the UN Security Council and other countries to publicly condemn the appointment of Musa Hilal, a known leader of the Janjaweed who is suspected of committing war crimes, to the position of advisor to Sudan's Minister of Federal Affairs and actively work to end impunity for his crimes. The US Government believes that Hilal is a central coordinator of the Janjaweed, a group responsible for the Government of Sudan's orchestrated campaign of killing, displacement, and looting throughout Darfur.
"It is an outrage that an individual known to have been directly involved in mass murder would be welcomed with open arms by President Bashir into his government," stated Frank Donaghue, Chief Executive Officer of PHR. "Bashir must immediately remove Hilal from his position and allow an independent investigation of the crimes his government has committed in Darfur to take place."
Hilal's appointment follows last year's naming of Ahmed Haroun, another key figure in the government's organized atrocities committed in Darfur, to the cabinet position of Minister of Humanitarian Affairs with authority over the Darfur region. Haroun was also appointed to lead the commission investigating the abuses in Darfur he has been accused of leading by the International Criminal Court. The ICC has also named Ali Kushayb, a senior figure in the Janjaweed, as an official suspect in the crimes committed against the people of Darfur. Kushayb was in government custody last year, but was released due to a supposed "lack of evidence" by Sudanese authorities. PHR continued its call for Haroun and Kushayb to be arrested and delivered to The Hague to face trial before the ICC.
"This appointment is just the latest example of Sudan's utter disregard for the rule of law," said Donaghue. "The members of the UN Security Council and other countries must condemn Bashir's continuing appointment of war criminals to government posts, defying calls from all quarters that these men be brought justice. Sudan must immediately arrest Haroun and Kushayb, ensuring that they face trial at the ICC, and remove Hilal from his position at once."
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.