Support the Arrest of Omar al-Bashir in South Africa

United to End Genocide called on the Obama administration and leaders of other UN Security Council member governments to publicly support the detention of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir by a South African judge in Johannesburg and call for his immediate arrest. The UN Security Council referred the case against Bashir for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court in 2005.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” said former US Congressman Tom Andrews, the group’s President. “For too long – six years in fact - the UN Security Council has sat quietly by as Bashir traveled freely to countries who have a legal obligation to arrest him. A South African judge has taken a principled stand for justice – now it is time for the U.S. and other UN Security Council nations to stand with him and urge the South African court to order Bashir’s arrest. Bashir belongs in a jail cell in the Hague, not at cocktail receptions in Johannesburg!”

Judge Hans Fabricius ordered that Bashir be prohibited from leaving South Africa until the court issues a final order on whether to hand him over to the International Criminal Court. Bashir is in Johannesburg participating in a meeting of African Union heads of state. The court is expected to rule on Monday.

“We congratulate the Southern African Litigation Center for doing the right thing and filing this case with the court”, Andrews said. “Now it is time for the U.S. and other members of the United Nations Security Council to also do the right thing.”

“What is at stake is not only justice for the hundreds of thousands of Bashir’s victims in Darfur, but every victim of a genocide today in the in the future. Whether Bashir is sent to the ICC for justice will speak volumes about whether government leaders – including the U.S. – are willing to walk the walk to stop genocide.”

United to End Genocide has long called for the arrest of Bashir, leading “Bashir Watch”, a coalition of NGOs dedicated to justice in Darfur. Bashir Watch sent a letter to the government of South Africa ahead of Bashir’s visit demanding that his invitation be withdrawn or he be arrested upon arrival. See BashirWatch.org for information on the charges against Bashir and his travels and attempted travels since the warrants for his arrest were released.

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