BashirWatch Letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn

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April 3, 2017

Permanent Mission of Ethiopia
Rue de Moillebeau 56
Case postale 338
1211 Genève 19, Switzerland

Dear Prime Minister Desalegn

The BashirWatch Coalition, a group of human rights organizations dedicated to accountability in Sudan, writes to express its concern that Ethiopia has invited Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Addis Ababa for talks regarding bilateral relations on April 4.

President al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. He is alleged to have committed the ongoing atrocities in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands have died since 2003 and millions remain displaced. While violence continues in Darfur, it has also spread to other areas of Sudan, including South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The last two years have seen the highest levels of violence and displacement since the height of the genocide more than a decade ago. In the first few weeks of 2016 alone, over 100,000 people were newly displaced by an escalation of violence by the Sudanese government. On 29 September 2016, Amnesty International reported that at least 30 suspected chemical attacks – killing more than 200 people – had taken place in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur since the beginning of 2016. On the first day of this year, the Sudanese Armed Forces waged a brutal attack in the city of Nertiti, killing 11 and wounding over 70 civilians.

Throughout these attacks, Bashir has continuously blocked humanitarian aid from reaching those in need, and many people are at risk of starvation. Bashir has carried out his reign of terror with impunity for more than thirteen years, and bringing justice to his victims is long overdue.

Although Ethiopia is not a State Party to the Rome Statute, non-member states are encouraged to bring international fugitives to justice. Amidst recent withdrawals from the ICC citing an anti-African bias, it is worth noting that the tens of thousands of Darfurians that our coalition comes across are in favor of the ICC. The situation in Darfur was referred to the Court by the United Nations Security Council through UNSC Resolution 1593 (2005), which urges all members of the United Nations (UN) to fully cooperate with the Court. As a member of the UN, Ethiopia falls within this exhortation and should act to bring Bashir to justice.

The Bashir Watch Coalition urges the Government of Ethiopia to stand for justice for the people of Sudan and refuse to allow an individual charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity into its territory. If Bashir enters Ethiopia, this coalition calls on the Ethiopian authorities to respect both the rule of law and their legal obligations to arrest and surrender Bashir to the ICC’s custody to fairly face the charges against him. Failing this, we ask that Ethiopia rescind its invitation to President Bashir immediately.

Thank you on behalf of the Bashir Watch Coalition,

Thank you on behalf of the Bashir Watch Coalition,

The Coalition of the International Criminal Court, NY, USA

Darfur Women Action Group, DC, USA

The International Justice Project, NJ, USA

Waging Peace, London, UK

Seeking justice for victims of mass atrocities

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