WASHINGTON DC -- With his decision today to open investigations into the situation in Darfur, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo took a significant step towards advancing justice in the Sudanese province. While Ocampos actions are important in providing security and accountability in the region they must be accompanied by renewed cooperation from the international community and the United States in particular. Citizens for Global Solutions calls on President Bush to fully support Ocampos investigations, and enhance his commitment towards stopping the ongoing atrocities in Darfur.|
Charles J. Brown, President of Citizens for Global Solutions and formerly a spokesperson for the U.S. delegation to the ICC negotiations in Rome, remarked: Last week President Bush said that, based on evidence assembled by the State Department, what is happening in Darfur constitutes genocide. Now the President must ensure that the United States does everything it can to help bring those responsible to justice. The Administration should turn over everything it has to help the Prosecutor build airtight cases against those who are most responsible for the genocide.
Mr. Ocampos announcement comes two months after the United Nations Security Council made the historic decision to refer Darfur to the ICC. During his statement, Mr. Ocampo pleaded for the international community to collectively unite behind an effort to end violence and promote justice in the region. The investigation will require sustained co-operation from national and international authorities, Mr. Ocampo stated.
Mr. Ocampo is undertaking an immense but vitally important task that will require the help of the international community, noted Charles. J. Brown. We applaud the Prosecutors remarkably swift action to open a formal investigation into Darfur. He is taking his mandate from the Security Council very seriously. But prosecuting those responsible for the crimes in Darfur will not be easy for the ICC. The international community must assist in this essential task.
ICC investigators are currently building legal cases against specific individuals. Although the UN Commission of Inquiry and NGOs have compiled material on the culpability of specific individuals, it may not be admissible. The continued hostility of the government of Sudan which has made it clear that Court investigators are not welcome on their territory poses a real challenge, as does the fact that most of those likely to be charged remain at large in that country.
The Darfur referral is a historic first for International Criminal Court. It offers the victims a real hope for justice. That said, Citizens for Global Solutions believes that action by the ICC in and of itself will not be enough to stop the killing, rape, and displacement in Darfur. Violence against innocent civilians continues, and perhaps even more lives are at risk as a result of the governments recent actions to inhibit the delivery of aid by humanitarian organizations. The international community must regard accountability as a complement to the attempt to end the atrocities, and not as an excuse for inaction.