Wednesday, September 19, 2007


On September 5, during a visit to Khartoum by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, the Sudanese government nominated Ahmed Haroun (pictured here) to co-chair a committee which has been established to hear complaints of victims of abuses in Darfur.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant this spring for the arrest of Haroun. The ICC's pre-trial judges found "reasonable grounds to believe" that Haroun is responsible for persecuting, raping, attacking and killing civilians in four west Darfur villages in 2003 and 2004. Evidence indicates Haroun recruited, paid and supplied arms to the Janjaweed who carried out the attacks.

“Coming during Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Sudan, Haroun’s nomination is a stunning affront,” said Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch’s International Justice Program. “It is an insult to the Darfur victims who filed complaints with the vain hope that the government would take them seriously.”

For some unknown reason there has been little reaction to Haroun's nomination by the international community.

"The silence of the international community has been deafening," said Frank Donaghue, CEO of Physicians for Human Rights. "The US and all other members of the UN Security Council must ensure that Haroun is arrested and delivered to The Hague immediately."

The following comes from Physicians for Human Rights and published in the Washington Post on September 19, 2007.

For Darfur, Accountability Before Peace
A Letter to the Editor of the Wahsington Post

Accountability for perpetrators and reparations for victims in Sudan's Darfur region are critical components missing from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's proposed solutions to the crisis ["What I Saw in Darfur; Untangling the Knots of a Complex Crisis," op-ed, Sept. 14].

While atrocities have been committed in the context of scarce resources, including water, these are certainly not the primary cause of the genocidal campaign waged by the Khartoum regime, which Mr. Ban failed to mention.

During Mr. Ban's recent trip to Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir named Ahmed Haroun, the Sudanese minister for humanitarian affairs, who is accused by the International Criminal Court of war crimes in Darfur, to co-chair an investigation into human rights violations there. Mr. Ban's silence about this outrageous appointment, as well as his failure to make justice a prerequisite for peace, is troubling.

The secretary general must pressure Sudan to arrest those accused of war crimes in Darfur, such as Mr. Haroun, and deliver them to The Hague. Upcoming peace talks will fail if reparations and accountability are not on the table.

The secretary general and the UN Security Council must put them there.


Chief Executive Officer

Physicians for Human Rights

Cambridge, Mass

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