For Immediate Release
Today, the executive directors of eight leading human rights organizations sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon calling on him to make justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators of crimes in Darfur a top priority. Also, the human rights leaders called on Ban to urge members of the UN Security Council to do everything within their means to ensure that Ahmed Haroun and Ali Kushayb, two Sudanese officials facing arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court for war crimes, are captured and delivered to The Hague.
Amnesty International, Freedom House, Global Rights, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, International League for Human Rights, the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, and Physicians for Human Rights all signed the letter. The full text of the letter follows:
September 19, 2007
The Honorable Ban Ki-Moon
New York, New York 10017
Dear Mr. Secretary General:
Thank you for meeting with us in July, at which time we discussed the urgent situation in Darfur. We write to you today to call on you to make justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators of crimes in Darfur a top priority. While we are heartened by the international community’s support for the deployment of the UN Assistance Mission in Darfur, we are deeply concerned that the Security Council has failed to demand Sudan’s compliance with the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) ongoing investigation and issuance of arrest warrants. We believe that without justice, there can be no lasting, viable peace in Darfur.
As you know, the crisis in Darfur, and the spillover of the conflict into Chad, is among the world’s largest humanitarian disasters. Millions of people are dependent upon humanitarian assistance for their very survival. And yet, the gatekeeper between the international humanitarian agencies and their beneficiaries, the current Sudanese State Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmed Haroun, is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Shockingly, the Government of Sudan recently named him as the co-chair of a committee established to investigate human rights abuses in Darfur.
The ICC’s Chief Prosecutor, Mr. Moreno Ocampo, recently explained that Ahmed Haroun, "the same man, who as Minister of State for the Interior, allegedly attacked civilians and forced people out of their homes and into the camps, is today in charge of the camps, controlling the fate of his victims”.
Mr. Secretary General, Mr. Haroun’s nomination shows the Government of Sudan's utter contempt for the rule of law—especially for the ICC, the very court to which the UN Security Council referred the crimes committed in Darfur. We ask you to call on the members of the Security Council to ensure that Sudan arrests and delivers to The Hague for trial Mr. Haroun and Mr. Ali Kushayb, the ICC’s other named suspect.
Holding accountable those who ordered and executed the Government of Sudan’s coordinated campaign of mass murder, rape and displacement is a precondition for guaranteeing a lasting peace in Darfur. Peace and justice are mutually reinforcing goals—to sacrifice one in pursuit of the other jeopardizes both. We strongly urge you to use your leadership publicly to ensure that the ICC and other transitional justice measures are integral to the UN’s response to the crisis in the Darfur region.
Robert Arsenault, President
International League for Human Rights
Salih Booker, Executive Director
Maureen Byrnes, Executive Director
Human Rights First
Larry Cox, Executive Director
Amnesty International USA
Frank Donaghue , Chief Executive Officer
Physicians for Human Rights
Felice D. Gaer, Director
Jacob Blaustein Institute for
the Advancement of Human Rights
Kenneth Roth, Executive Director
Human Rights Watch
Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director
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.