WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today welcomed the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to expand its existing arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to include three counts of genocide, in addition to the crimes against humanity and war crimes charges leveled in March of last year.
“Armenian Americans welcome the International Criminal Court’s decision today to indict Sudan’s President, Omar al Bashir, on charges of genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We are hopeful that this indictment, the first ever issued by the ICC for genocide, will lead to both decisive action against the al-Bashir regime’s ongoing genocide against the people of Darfur, and, more broadly, to increased pressure on governments worldwide to work for a world in which genocide cannot be committed with impunity.”
In a July 12th ruling, the ICC stated: “there are reasonable grounds to believe [Omar al-Bashir] responsible for three counts of genocide committed against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups, that include: genocide by killing, genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm and genocide by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction.”
Click here to read the ICC press release.
Despite the 2009 ICC arrest warrant, al-Bashir has travelled with virtual impunity to neighboring countries, though a planned visit to Turkey last year was cancelled following international pressure. The Ankara and Khartoum regimes have grown markedly closer over the past three years, with Turkey continuing to supply lethal weaponry to Sudan. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly defended al-Bashir and Turkey’s close ties with the genocidal regime, stating “It’s not possible for a Muslim to commit genocide.”
The ANCA is joining the Save Darfur Coalition in calling on the U.S. government, the U.N. and the international community to make clear to the Sudanese government that any retaliation for the new warrant against civilians, humanitarian groups or U.N. personnel will not be tolerated. Concerned anti-genocide activists should call the U.S. Department of State at 202-647-4000 and urge Secretary Clinton to make protection of vulnerable groups a priority.
Anti-Genocide activists are also encouraged to attend the July 14th White House Vigil, organized by Voices for Sudan, to call attention to the plight of the Darfuri people and urge the international community to take immediate action to assist the ICC in bringing al-Bashir to justice. The vigil will be held from 12 noon to 1:00pm at Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. For more information, visit Voices for Sudan partner, Africa Action’s website.