Ignoring its international legal obligations under the Rome Treaty yet again, Chad has welcomed another alleged war criminal from Darfur to its territory. Yesterday, Sudanese Defense Minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed traveled to Chad for the fourth intergovernmental conference regarding the Sudanese-Chadian border. This is Hussein’s first visit to Chad since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him on March 1, 2012 for crimes against humanity and war crimes, including rape and torture, allegedly committed in western Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004.
As one of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s closest allies, Hussein is the second most senior official wanted by the ICC in the Darfur situation after Bashir, who has two outstanding ICC arrest warrants for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Chad has repeatedly allowed Bashir to visit, despite these arrest warrants and its international legal obligations.
Recently, however, international pressure appears to have influenced the Chadian government, and this is why, we must keep it up and tell Chad to arrest Hussein too! In March and early April of this year, Chad invited Bashir to the African Greenbelt Conference. On both occasions, the conference was postponed amid the objection of many civil society members and after the BashirWatch Coalition sent letters to the Chadian government to arrest Bashir if he attended the conference. Chad demonstrated a positive step by postponing the conference, but now, it has reverted back by failing to stand with the victims, many of whom fled to its territory seeking safety.
Hussein is wanted for horrific crimes committed in Darfur, including recruiting, arming and funding police forces and the Janjaweed militia, and now, he is allegedly leading a campaign against opposition forces in the south. He was appointed as Minister of Interior in 1993, and in 2003, became the special representative for Darfur, a position he held until 2004 before becoming the current defense minister.
We must continue to remind Chad that it is legally obligated to cooperate with the ICC and arrest Hussein and Bashir. Its unwillingess to demonstrate its commitment to justice and accountability for the victims of Darfur is reprehensible. These are not actions of a country seeking to be a leader in the region or the world. So let’s do it – keep the pressure on, sign up for the Rapid Response Network and tell Chad it is time to arrest Hussein and Bashir.