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Justice in order for Peace NOW

Justice for the people of Darfur

“Why give al-Bashir 12 months, when for 5 years we have seen no peace?” the question posed by a young man in a Darfur refugee captures the theme heard over and over again in the camp during our late July visit. And the theme of international debate over what our next steps for Darfur should be.

For almost four months now representatives of the international community – countries, experts, judges – has been debating whether indicting Sudanese President al-Bashir would impede the peace process for Darfur. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has the opportunity to postpone the indictment for 12 months according to the Rome Statute Article 16 and plans on voting on this as soon as September. But it would be impossible for an arrest warrant for al-Bahsir to impede the peace process, because there is not peace in Darfur. Since Moreno-Ocampo statement on June 5th, peacekeepers have been attacked and murdered and bombs have fallen from Sudanese aircraft into IDP camps in Darfur.

We need to guarantee that President Bush and our UNSC representative support justice and peace in Darfur and show this by ensuring that the UNSC allows the ICC to continue with their efforts to charge al-Bashir with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Our leaders must veto attempts to block ICC progress by using Rome Statute Article 16.

As one woman described, “A delay will not be a chance for peace. It will be a chance for Bashir to kill more.”

The August 24th killings and burning of homes in Kalma Camp, Nyala, Darfur is the most recent example of this continued terror and attempted extermination of the people of Darfur. As the international community and experts take a vacation and debate themes of peace, Al-Bashir’s confidence in carrying out genocide grows and his latest attack, carried out not by Janjaweed but by Sudanese military, is only the most recent example of continued, not impeded, genocide.

For the protection of the people and for the peace process, we need to bring Justice to Darfur. From a refugee to the world, “Justice first, then peace will come.”

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