Sudan's President Bashir must be arrested in Chad!

10th anniversary of the genocide in Darfur – Impunity persists – Wanted Sudanese President visits Chad

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demands that the Chadian Government should execute an arrest warrant that was issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir during his planned visit to Chad this weekend. "Ten years after the genocide in Darfur started, there must be a clear statement against the persisting impunity in western Sudan," said the STP's expert on questions regarding Africa, Ulrich Delius, in Göttingen on Thursday. This weekend, the Sudanese President – whom an arrest warrant was issued against by the ICC in March 2009 – will follow an invitation by the Chadian Government to take part in the summit of the "Community of the Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD)" in Ndjamena.

Bashir is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity, for genocide and war crimes. The crimes that were documented by the ICC had been committed in western Sudan by militias that were controlled by the Sudanese army. February 2013 will mark the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide in western Sudan.

"As the Sudan is not willing to prosecute those who are responsible for the crimes, the International Community must now enforce the ICC's arrest warrant," said Delius. A few days ago, the Sudanese Government had emphasized that anyone who is responsible for human rights violations is to be held accountable by an ordinary Sudanese court. "But, in fact, no measures were taken to fight impunity in Darfur during the last ten years." Sudanese prosecutors responsible for investigating the matter were regularly replaced by the Sudanese judicial authorities – staving off the family members of more than 400,000 people who got killed in the genocide. "The ongoing impunity in Darfur is scandalous – and it thwarts any attempts towards reconciliation in the conflict zone," said Delius. "Genocide is the worst crime of all – so it must be punished accordingly."

As Chad is a state party to the ICC, it is actually obliged to follow the warrant. After the warrant was issued, the close French ally had first tried to persuade the African neighbor states not to let President Bashir enter the county. But – in order to harmonize the relations with the neighboring state of Sudan – the Chad changed its policy and is now ignoring the ICC's warrant, just like many other African states. The European Union had already tried to appeal to the Chadian Government to arrest Bashir during his visit to the neighboring country in July 2010 – but to no success.