International Criminal Court Prosecutor Addresses UN and AJWS


International Criminal Court Prosecutor Addresses UN and AJWS

December 3, 2008

December 3, 2008—Today marks another step in the fight for justice in Darfur, Sudan. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) presented his 8th report to the United Nations Security Council. In it he described ongoing crimes in Darfur and urged all states to cooperate with the court's efforts and to prepare for the potential issuance of an arrest warrant against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. One day prior, Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo spoke about his work at American Jewish World Service's luncheon at the New York City Yale Club. He joined other notable panelists, NBC News anchor and correspondent Ann Curry, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof, ENOUGH Project co-chair John Prendergast and Darfuri refugee and author Daoud Hari, in speaking out about Darfur. AJWS president Ruth Messinger opened the event and a convocation was given by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, senior rabbi of Westchester Reform Temple.

A day after the event, Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo told the Security Council that the court will soon issue a decision on the pending arrest warrant for Bashir, and stressed that Sudan has yet to hand over two suspects for whom the ICC has already issued warrants. He called on the member states to cooperate to ensure implementation of the arrests in the coming months and asked them to cut off non-essential contact and to target the accused for sanctions, including travel bans and freezing of assets. "If Security Council members can act together," he said, "the crimes will stop and millions of lives will be saved. If different interests prevent a strong and consistent position in support of the Court's decisions, if they give room to false promises, rapes will continue, destruction will continue. An opportunity is coming. A united Security Council can make a difference."

The "false promises" refer to Bashir's efforts to defer the court's proceedings in the name of peace while continuing to obstruct full deployment of the UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID). "What can UNAMID do when those controlling its deployment are the same people ordering the crimes?" The prosecutor asked. "How long are we going to just tally the casualties, the displacements and the rapes?" AJWS urges the Security Council to issue a statement reaffirming support for the ICC, calling on Sudan to comply with the court, and stating that retaliation for any of the ICC proceedings will not be tolerated.

Click here for Photographs of Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo and the other distinguished panelists at the AJWS luncheon, "Reflections on Hope and Despair: A Conversation about Genocide in Darfur."