Friday, January 30, 2009

Obama’s Envoy Voices Support for International Court

By Bill Varner

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Ambassador Susan Rice signaled a shift in U.S. policy toward support for the International Criminal Court, a tribunal the Bush administration opposed, in her first speech to the United Nations Security Council.

The International Criminal Court “looks to become an important and credible instrument for trying to hold accountable the senior leadership responsible for atrocities committed in the Congo, Uganda and Darfur,” Rice said in a closed council meeting, according to a text provided by the U.S. mission.

President George W. Bush opposed U.S. ratification of the treaty that created the court out of concern that it didn’t include adequate protections against politically motivated prosecutions. The U.S. sought and received UN immunity for its citizens from tribunal prosecution from 2002 to 2004.

Crimes against humanity in Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Cambodia gave impetus to creation of the Hague court, whose jurisdiction took effect on July 1, 2002. The court’s prosecutor last July sought the arrest of Sudanese President Umar Hasan al-Bashir for war crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Rice’s remarks at the Security Council meeting on international humanitarian law won praise from envoys used to seeing the U.S. isolated on issues such as the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction.

‘She Was Incredible’ Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Condemnation of Darfur Bombings

Press Statement

Robert Wood

Acting Spokesman

Washington, DC

January 27, 2009

The United States condemns the military activity carried out by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) in North and South Darfur since January 22, as well as the incursion by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) into Muhajaria and other areas of South Darfur, which resulted in an increase of violence over the last week. This fighting and subsequent Government of Sudan bombing campaigns have reportedly resulted in the deaths, injuries and displacements of civilians. The bombing campaigns in particular are a violation of the Darfur Peace Agreement, of the Government of Sudan-initiated ceasefire, and of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on Darfur. We welcome the statement by the Secretary-General condemning these hostilities. We demand that all parties to the conflict, including rebel movements, cease all violence and provocations in Darfur immediately, and commit to the peace process under the leadership of Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Yipènè Bassolé.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Barack Obama on Darfur

Darfur Project

U.N. condemns Sudan air bombing in Darfur

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The United Nations is calling for an end to hostilities in the Darfur region of Sudan after the government launched airstrikes Thursday.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Thursday said military violence would not bring peace to the war-ravaged Darfur, where ongoing violence between government forces and the rebel militants has resulted in an estimated 300,000 deaths and the displacement of millions of civilians.

Thursday the Sudanese government launched an aerial bombing campaign and ground offensive targeting militiamen in the southern Muhajeria region of Darfur. Ban called on the Sudanese government and rebel leaders to end the military aggression, the United Nations reported. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, January 05, 2009

High noon at genocide in Darfur

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 and rapings of his black citizens in Darfur, the victims' avenger Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, may finally be close to bringing this monstrous dictator to trial, the first sitting president indicted by the World Court.

Last July, Moreno-Ocampo had asked the ICC to issue arrest warrants for Al-Bashir on three counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity and two of murder. The legal definition of genocide is: "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group."

The prosecutor accuses Al-Bashir of a campaign to eliminate African Darfur tribes.

After the ICC asked for more supporting material to justify arrest warrants, on Nov. 21, Moreno-Ocampo submitted more than 700 pages of documented evidence, including witness statements. All of his previous requests for arrest warrants in other cases have been successful.

Adding to Al-Bashir's fears is the prospect of national elections next year demanded by foreign donor governments, and supported by the United Nations and many in Sudan. The Economist (Nov. 20) reports that the dictator and his henchmen "know that if even vaguely free and fair ballots were to take place throughout Sudan, they would lose heavily." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Add your voice for Darfur


Overshadowed by the barrage of news stories on the economy and two wars we are fighting, is the genocide in Sudan which has entered its 6th year. Up to 400,000 have perished, with nearly three million displaced and living in refugee camps with insufficient food, water and medicine.

Darfur activists have been heartened by the election of Barack Obama, who during the campaign promised "unstinting resolve" to end the genocide against the Darfuri people by the government and its surrogates.

We need to hold him to his word. The national Save Darfur Coalition is coordinating a nationwide postcard campaign - one million voices for Darfur - to be delivered electronically or in person to our new president during his first week in office.

Please add your voice! Go to and let President Obama know that you support America exerting its leadership in bringing this tragedy to an end. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Friday, January 02, 2009

Darfur Enmeshed Within Sudan’s Broadening National Crisis

By: Eric Reeves

As Darfur’s humanitarian crisis deepens, potential intra-national conflict reveals the broader failures of the National Islamic Front regime---and the ultimate threats to international humanitarian and development assistance throughout the country

With dismaying predictability, the continuing catastrophe in Darfur commands less and less news attention, largely because it has settled into a grim “genocide by attrition,” defined not so much by massive atrocities---although these continue to occur---as by relentless, if undramatic, human suffering and destruction consequent upon the Khartoum regime’s deliberate exacerbating of insecurity confronting civilians and aid workers. Most of the region has only a tenuous and fitful humanitarian presence, and many distressed populations are completely beyond reach (see UN access map at Darfur’s visibility has diminished not only because the observational presence of humanitarian workers is much reduced (even as their fear of speaking out has increased), but because the Khartoum regime has imposed severe restrictions on journalists seeking access to Darfur.

As the conflict enters its seventh year, with no end in sight, the risk is that it will become perceived as a chronic problem rather than an acute threat to the lives of millions of conflict-affected Darfuris. This number has now reached a staggering 4.7 million civilians according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 33, representing conditions as of October 1, 2008 [hereafter DHP 33] at )---three quarters of Darfur’s pre-war population. Conditions for these people vary tremendously, but at least 3 million depend upon international aid for all or some of their food. And yet because of insecurity, the UN’s World Food Program can provide Darfuris with only 70 percent of the minimum daily human food requirements. Malnutrition is again on the rise, and recent data from West Darfur reveal that Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) has reached the emergency threshold (and this comes following the fall harvests, an extremely ominous development). Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), affecting primarily children under five, is approaching 3 percent, portending significant mortality. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Darfur: The tragedy continues

WHILE THE CURTAIN descends on 2008, a great tragedy continues to play out unabated onstage: genocide in Darfur. Since 2003, more than 300,000 people have died in the western Sudan region and 2.7 million have been forced to flee their homes. The world's response? Impotence.

The Darfurian conflict is the latest segment in a half-century of strife in Sudan. A war between the largely Muslim north and the Christian south escalated in 1983 after the north tried to impose Muslim law on the entire nation. That violence killed nearly 2 million people and left millions homeless or orphaned. A 2005 treaty ended the conflict and gave the south autonomy for six years, after which a referendum will determine the region's fate.

As the north-south conflagration began to die down, hostilities between Arab and black Sudanese heated up. The janjaweed militia, Arabs armed by the government and riding horses or camels, raided Darfurian villages, killed the men, raped the women, and forced survivors to flee to camps farther west, or across the border in Chad. Their intent was "ethnic cleansing," reducing the number of blacks or diluting their race through rape.

Even in the camps, the Darfurians are not safe. Women and girls who venture away from camp looking for firewood are raped and/or abducted and used as sexual slaves, according to the human rights group Darfur Consortium. For those in the camps, disease, famine, and hopelessness are their daily fare. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>