ANCA Welcomes Genocide Charges Against Sudan’s Leader

WASHINGTON–The Armenian National Committee of America Monday welcomed the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of genocide against the people of Darfur.

The ICC’s prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Monday filed Genocide charges against al-Bashir, accusing him of masterminding attempts to wipe out African tribes in Darfur with a campaign of murder, rape and deportation. The indictment is a legal milestone in the international movement to end the cycle of Genocide.

"Armenian Americans welcome these charges as a meaningful step forward in the international movement to end the cycle of genocide," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. "We are hopeful that this legal milestone will mark a turning point toward decisive action on the part of the United States, the UN Security Council, and the international community to end Khartoum’s brutal and systematic drive to destroy the population of Darfur through massacre, disease and malnutrition."

The Save Darfur Coalition, of which the ANCA is a member, has initiated a grassroots email campaign to the UN Security Council, urging them to take decisive action on a comprehensive strategy for Sudan. Save Darfur President Jerry Fowler noted, "The world at-large, primarily the Security Council, has allowed al-Bashir to continue his reign of destruction, recalcitrance and violence with utter impunity. Moreno-Ocampo has acted. Now the Security Council must as well.

The ICC’s filing of genocide charges marked the first time prosecutors at the world’s first permanent, global war crimes court have issued charges against a sitting head of state, but al-Bashir is unlikely to be sent to The Hague any time soon. Sudan rejects the court’s jurisdiction, and senior Sudanese officials said the prosecutor was politically motivated to file the charges.

In presenting his case, Moreno-Ocampo explained that, "Genocide is a crime of intention?-we don’t need to wait until these 2.5 million die." He added that, "the genocide is ongoing."

In January of this year al-Bashir completed a three-day state visit to Turkey, at the invitation of President Abdullah Gul. During the visit, Turkey ran against the current of growing international isolation of Khartoum’s genocidal regime by signing a memorandum of understanding to strengthen Sudan-Turkey military relations and expanding cooperation on military technology transfers and training.

Turkey’s Minister of Trade projected at the time that Sudan will soon be Turkey’s largest trading partner in Africa. Despite calls from human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch, Turkish President Gul did not put pressure on Sudan to end the atrocities in Darfur, but instead claimed that it was merely a "humanitarian tragedy" that "is not only a matter of politics, but also stems from poverty and environmental conditions"

To participate in the Save Darfur Coalition’s email campaign, visit:
http://action.savedarfur.org/campaign/anniversary

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