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BashirWatch Letter to King Mohamed VI on Upcoming Visit to Morocco

July 13, 2016

HM King Mohamed VI
The Royal Palace
Rabat, Morocco

Salaheddine Mezouar
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
7 rue F. Roosevelt
Rabat, Morrocco
Tel: 05 37 76 11 25/23 24
Fax: 05 37 76 55 08

Dear King Mohamed VI and Minister Mezouar,

The BashirWatch Coalition, a group of human rights organizations dedicated to accountability in Sudan, writes to express its concern that Morocco has welcomed the visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Rabat for talks on bilateral and economic relations.

Recent media reports have indicated that President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has been invited to Morocco to meet with King Mohammed VI. We remind you, however, that President al-Bashir is the subject of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He is perpetrating the ongoing atrocities in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands have died since 2003 and millions remain displaced. 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 have been newly displaced by an escalation of violence by the Sudanese government including large-scale attacks on civilians.

The crimes in Darfur continue to rage, and violence has spread into other areas of Sudan, including South Kordofan and Blue Nile. 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.

Morocco is a signatory of the Rome Statue. Although Morocco has not formally implemented the treaty domestically, even non-member states are encouraged to bring international fugitives to justice. 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, Morocco falls within this exhortation and should act to bring Bashir to justice.

Welcoming President al-Bashir only serves to embolden a leader of a regime that continues to bomb civilian areas and cut off humanitarian aid to those in dire need. Therefore, it is imperative that Morocco refuses to allow an individual charged with war crimes into its territory. Should Bashir enter Morocco, this Coalition calls on the Moroccan authorities to arrest and transfer him to the ICC to face the charges against him in a fair trial.
Thank you on behalf of the Bashir Watch Coalition,

The Coalition of the International Criminal Court, NY, USA

The International Justice Project, NJ, USA

Darfur Women Action Group, DC, USA

United to End Genocide, DC, USA

Waging Peace, London, UK