For Immediate Release
Sudan: ICC Warrant for Al-Bashir on Genocide
NEW YORK - The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant on
July 12, 2010, for President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan for genocide
committed in Darfur. An earlier arrest warrant for al-Bashir was issued
in March 2009 by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity in
This is the first time the ICC has issued an arrest warrant for the
crime of genocide. The warrant is for al-Bashir's alleged role as an
indirect perpetrator or indirect co-perpetrator of genocide in Darfur
through killing, causing bodily or mental harm, and deliberately
inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring physical destruction.
"President al-Bashir's stonewalling on the initial ICC warrant
against him appears only more outrageous now that he's also being sought
for genocide," said Elise Keppler, senior counsel with the
International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch. "Security Council
members and other concerned governments should actively press Sudan to
stop its blatant obstruction of the ICC and to see to it that al-Bashir
appears at the court."
The ICC has jurisdiction over international crimes committed in
Darfur, even though Sudan is not a party to the court, under Security
Council Resolution 1593, which referred Darfur to the ICC and obligates
Sudan to cooperate with the ICC.
The ICC pre-trial chamber declined to include genocide charges when
it issued the first warrant for al-Bashir. The prosecutor's office
appealed the decision on the basis that the chamber had used an
inappropriate standard of proof in declining to include the genocide
charges. In a March 2010 ruling, the appeals chamber agreed and
instructed the pre-trial chamber to reassess genocide charges on the
basis that genocide could be one reasonable conclusion to be drawn from
the material submitted, while not necessarily the only reasonable
conclusion. On July 12, the pre-trial chamber issued a ruling that
resulted in the second warrant on genocide charges.
Human Rights Watch has found in its research on Darfur that the
highest levels of the Sudanese leadership, including al-Bashir, are
responsible for creating and coordinating the government's
counterinsurgency policy in Darfur, which deliberately and
systematically targeted civilians in violation of international law.
Human Rights Watch has described the crimes in Darfur as "ethnic
cleansing," war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch
has not taken a position on whether the crimes constitute genocide due
to insufficient information in its research on whether the actions were
carried out with the "intent to destroy in whole or in part an ethnic
group," an element of the crime of genocide.
Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. Our rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy build intense pressure for action and raise the cost of human rights abuse. For 30 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring greater justice and security to people around the world.