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Charges of Genocide Against President Bashir A Welcome Step

For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) applauds The International Criminal Court for issuing a second arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, this time for the crime of genocide. PHR first documented atrocities committed against the people of Darfur in its landmark 2006 report, Assault on Survival: A Call for Security, Justice and Restitution. The report alleged that the Government of Sudan and its proxy militias carried out a "systematic campaign of destruction against specific populations”, obliterating thousands of villages, killing, pillaging, plundering, and forcing men, women and children to flee into a "no man's land” which amounted to an "all out assault on the very survival of a population.”

"By issuing today's warrant, the ICC recognizes what PHR's research demonstrated years ago: Bashir's campaign against the civilian population of Darfur has the necessary characteristics of genocide under the Rome statute,” said PHR CEO Frank Donaghue. "Today's ruling brings us one step closer to getting justice for the many thousands of victims of Bashir's campaign of calculated violence and destruction of livelihoods documented by PHR.”

"Now that President Bashir is charged with genocide, it's more imperative than ever that the trial process go forward,” said Donaghue. "At the same time, the international community must ensure that these charges do not result in the targeting of civilians, aid workers or peacekeepers. The place for President Bashir to dispute these charges is in The Hague.”

In March 2009, the court's Pre-trial Panel issued a warrant for President Omar al-Bashir's arrest on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. At the time, two of the panel's three judges said they would not add the additional charge of genocide since ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo had not provided sufficient grounds to prove the intent to destroy the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur in whole or in part.

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.

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