September 7, 2017
HE: The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev,
c/o Embassy of The Republic of Kazakhstan
1401 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Dear President Nazarbayev,
The BashirWatch Coalition, a group of human rights organizations dedicated to accountability in Sudan, writes to express its concern that The Republic of Kazakhstan has invited Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Astana for an Islamic Technology summit September 10th -11th.
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. During the course of the year 2016 alone, nearly 400,000 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 The Republic of Kazakhstan is not a State Party to the Rome Statute, non-member states are encouraged to bring international fugitives to justice. Inspite of hostility from some countries toward the ICC, it is worth noting that the tens of thousands of Darfurians that our coalition comes across are in favor of and fully support 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 and the UNSC, The Republic of Kazakhstan falls within this exhortation and should act to bring Bashir to justice.
The Bashir Watch Coalition urges the Government of The Republic of Kazakhstan 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 Kazakhstan, this coalition calls on the Kazakhstani authorities to www.bashirwatch.org 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 The Republic of Kazakhstan rescind its invitation to President Bashir immediately.
Thank you on behalf of the Bashir Watch Coalition,
Darfur Women Action Group, DC, USA
The International Justice Project, NJ, USA
Waging Peace, London, UK