Rights Groups Launch Joint Effort to End Impunity for Sudan’s President Bashir

March 4, 2013, marked four years since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for his crimes in Darfur. Undeterred by that decision, Bashir continues to act with impunity, expanding his bombing campaign and attacks against civilians beyond Darfur to the Sudanese states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan. Those who commit genocide need to know that the world will hold them accountable. Today a coalition of international NGOs, including Aegis Trust, Physicians for Human Rights, The International Justice Project, Inc., and United to End Genocide, launched BashirWatch, a multifaceted advocacy campaign that aims to galvanize action by the international community to end the decade-long impunity enjoyed by Bashir. Forty-one international civil society human rights groups across Africa, Europe, and the United States have endorsed the BashirWatch campaign (bashirwatch.org) and signed a joint statement that calls upon the UN Security Council and International Criminal Court members to fulfill their moral and legal obligation to arrest Bashir and three other Sudanese officials wanted by the Court. “The wholesale destruction of the lives and livelihoods of the people of Darfur and beyond is a damning indictment if Bashir," said Susannah Sirkin, Director of International Policy and Partnerships at Physicians for Human Rights. “But the impunity with which he continues to operate is an indictment of the rest of the world's moral failure to hold him to account. This stain on humanity's conscience can not be expunged when he and his cohort are arrested and brought to justice.” Tom Andrews, president of United to End Genocide commented, “Ten years since the start of the genocide in Darfur and four years since the release of an ICC arrest warrant, it is an outrage that Bashir not only remains at large but continues to be welcomed in other countries. Such impunity echoes far beyond Sudan. If the world’s governments will not cry out against such an affront to justice, then it is up to citizens to do so. That is exactly what BashirWatch is all about.” "There is no greater affront to the system of international justice than the failure of the international community at large and some members of the Assembly of States Parties to bring Bashir and other accused to trial at the ICC. The undertaking by this coalition of NGOs is an important step in generating and increasing popular support to correct that affront," noted Raymond M. Brown, Co-Founder of International Justice Project and Legal Representative for Victims in the Bashir case. Just a few short weeks ago, Bashir visited Chad, and he reportedly intends to return by the end of the month. In the last year, he has traveled to Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, and Libya. None of these countries have suffered any repercussions for their actions. But change is possible. The country of Malawi, under international pressure last year, decided to cancel a meeting of the African Union rather than allow Bashir to visit. And a Kenyan court has ordered Bashir’s arrest should he visit the country again. BashirWatch is committed to seeing justice served. It is long past time for the world’s leaders show the people of Darfur and all of Sudan that they are committed to ending impunity and ensuring that those who stand accused of the world’s worst crimes see their day in court.