|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6548th Meeting (AM)
President of Sudan Has Learned to Defy Security Council, Says Chief Prosecutor,
Stressing that Genocide, Crimes against Humanity ‘Continue Unabated’ in Darfur
Impunity, Record of International Criminal Court Indictee Cited in Briefing
Genocide and crimes against humanity continued unabated in Darfur because the President of Sudan had learned to defy the Security Council’s authority, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court told Council members today.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo said during his briefing on Sudan that the crimes in question included air attacks on civilians as well as the direct killing of members of the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups, against which a policy of extermination was alleged in the warrant issued by the Court for the Sudanese leader’s arrest.
“It is the challenging responsibility of the United Nations Security Council to use the information exposed by the International Criminal Court to stop the crimes in Darfur,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo emphasized, recalling that the Council had referred the Darfur situation to the Court by adopting resolution 1593 in 2005. “The Prosecution, fulfilling its mandate, is willing to assist,” he added.
He went on to state that President Omer al-Bashir and his supporters continued to deny the crimes, attributing them to other factors, such as inter-tribal clashes. They were also diverting attention from their own actions by publicizing ceasefire agreements that were violated as soon as they were announced, and by proposing the creation of special courts to conduct investigations which, the Prosecutor predicted, would never start.
Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said the Court’s impartiality was demonstrated by its pursuit of the case against rebel commanders who had led their fighters in attacking the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) base in Haskanite on 29 September 2007, killing 12 peacekeepers and injuring 8 others. On 7 March 2011, the Pretrial Chamber had confirmed the war crime charges against Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo in the Haskanite case, he said, noting that both had committed to surrender voluntarily to the Court for trial and, if convicted, to serve years in prison. However, they were claiming that President Bashir must also appear before the judges and respect the Court’s decisions.
Meanwhile, the President was threatening the international community with retaliation and yet more crimes, having “transformed public knowledge of his criminal responsibility into a negotiating tool”, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo continued. The President’s expulsion of humanitarian organizations in March 2009 was “the epitome” of that strategy, and he was now asking for rewards for not committing new genocides outside Darfur.
The risks of ignoring crimes and allowing impunity were demonstrated by the record of Ahmad Harun, the Prosecutor said, pointing out that the Court had issued a warrant for his arrest in 2007, yet he had been appointed Governor of South Kordofan State in 2009. He went on to recall that during the 1990s, Mr. Harun had used local militias to attack civilians in the Nuba Mountains. As Sudan’s Minister of State for the Interior between 2003 and 2005, he had coordinated attacks against civilians in their villages.
Mr. Moreno-Ocampo recalled further that when Mr. Harun had been assigned as the official interpreter during then Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s visit to Darfur, he had deliberately mistranslated complaints by Fur leaders in camps for displaced persons in order to cover up crimes, he said. He had then been appointed Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs in 2005, in charge of the same millions of people that he had forcibly displaced.
The Prosecutor also cited his report of June 2008, in which he expressed concern about Mr. Harun being dispatched to Abyei, supposedly to address disputes between the Misseriya and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). Abyei had subsequently been burned down and 50,000 civilians had been displaced, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo noted, adding that, in South Kordofan, Mr. Harun was now “dubbed by some members of the international community as the man to get things done”.
Beginning at 10:10 a.m., the meeting ended at 10:25 a.m.
* *** *For information media • not an official record