The Darfur Consortium

. . .

Darfur in the News

U.S. and European media

December 4, 2022

Agence France-Presse: Darfur genocide continues: ICC prosecutor. Sudan's government is still supporting genocide in Darfur, including through rape and holding up humanitarian aid, the International Criminal Court prosecutor said Wednesday. "Genocide continues," Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council, accusing Sudan of refusing to cooperate with the court. "Rapes in and around the (refugee) camps continue. Humanitarian assistance is still hindered. More than 5,000 displaced persons die each month," he said. Moreno-Ocampo urged the 15 Security Council member nations to be prepared for the possibility of an ICC-issued warrant for the arrest of Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir.

New York Times: Council Backs Idea to Indict Sudan Leader. Members of the Security Council generally expressed support on Wednesday for the International Criminal Court's moving ahead with the possible indictment of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan for war crimes in Darfur, although several voiced reservations that it would slow attempts to reach a peace settlement. The discussion came after testimony to the council by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the court's prosecutor, who warned that members should prepare in advance to enforce the indictment. The Sudanese ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem, said his country had improved its cooperation with the peacekeeping operations in Sudan, humanitarian groups and its estranged neighbor, Chad. But the Darfuri Leaders Network, a coalition of academics and others in exile in the United States, said the government was just making "empty gestures" while the threat of the indictment loomed. The group said in a statement that the indictment presented the best chance for accountability for crimes in Darfur.

Voice of America: Clinton Asked to Take Quick Action on Darfur As Secretary of State. Even before Hillary Clinton is confirmed by the Senate as the next secretary of state, she's being called on to quickly deal with Darfur. Samuel Bell, director of advocacy at the Genocide Intervention Network in Washington, spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about Senator Clinton. "We believe that there's a window of opportunity to put significant pressure on the Sudanese government and have them agree to a credible and lasting peace agreement with the rebels and civil society in Darfur. So we're calling on Secretary of State Designate Clinton and President-elect Obama and the rest of the foreign policy team to embark on a peace surge. We're calling it a peace surge for Sudan. We feel that the time is right, right now, that they can hammer out in the first hundred days a negotiated solution that will end the violence," he says.

The following op-ed by Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi appeared today in The Guardian.

An end to impunity in Darfur

On December 3, chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, will report to the UN Security Council on the progress of his investigation into crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan - in particular on his request to indict Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for genocide and crimes against humanity. In the interests of the peoples of Sudan, the council should use the occasion to demonstrate full support for the work of the court.

Since the July 2008 request to indict al-Bashir, Sudan has lobbied at the UN, the African Union and the Arab League to persuade other countries that the security situation on the ground in Darfur is improving, that Darfuris are leading "normal lives", and indictment of Bashir should therefore be delayed.

A failure to delay the indictment would, according to Sudan's ambassador to the UN, Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem, "open the gates of hell in Sudan and the rest of the region" - a sentiment echoed by the president of Sudan himself.

The main message from the Sudan: if the indictment is delayed, violence in Darfur will decrease. If the indictment goes ahead, violence in Darfur will increase. President Bashir is trying to convince the world that Sudan needs him for peace - a proposition even a casual observer of Sudan's recent history would find laughable, and his government is again holding Darfuris hostage. This time the ransom is a deferred indictment.

As Bashir and his government once again leverage their brutal violence against the Darfuri people to influence global affairs, at least two issues deserve consideration:

First, the situation on the ground in Darfur is not improving. Sudan unilaterally declared a ceasefire in mid-November, but is already under investigation by the UN and condemned by the US for bombing villages and breaking its word - yet again.

According to Human Rights Watch, Sudanese forces and government-backed militias attacked more than a dozen villages in operations against rebel forces near Muhajariya, South Darfur, between October 5 and 17 2008, killing more than 40 civilians.

In August, the government of Sudan attacked Kalma refugee camp - home to 90,000 displaced Darfuris -- with 60 heavily-armed military vehicles, machine guns and automatic weapons. The attacks left at least 32 people dead, and more than 100 injured. A month later, government security forces attacked ZamZam camp near el-Fasher in armoured vehicles. Again, significant civilian casualties were reported.

There are ongoing attacks against humanitarian workers in government-controlled towns, continued uses of rape as a tactic in the war, and obstructions to the deployment of the joint UN-African Union peace force. Coordinated bombings by government forces and ground attacks by their Janjaweed allies continue in North Darfur.

Second, even a significant decrease in violence in Darfur would not alone justify a deferral of the ICC indictment and would instead set a dangerous precedent. After more than five years of horrific violence and insecurity, displacement and brutal sexual violence, the people - and particularly the women - of Darfur deserve more than the "government men" negotiating with the "rebel men" and forgiving each other for the violence they have perpetrated primarily against women, children and other non-combatants.

The people of Darfur deserve - and have clearly voiced a desire for - justice and accountability. And while the ICC is not the only vehicle for justice, it is the only vehicle right now. Nothing should overshadow the imperative to end impunity for Darfur's crimes.

The creation of the International Criminal Court is a critical and significant development in international law that took more than five decades to establish. With its global reach, it has the potential to prevent or drastically reduce the deaths and devastation caused by violent conflict and abuses of power. To politicise the work of the court would be to undermine this potential. That is why the international community must do the right thing now and let the court do its work.

Jody Williams was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). Dr Shirin Ebadi was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her human rights work, in particular the rights of women, children and political prisoners in Iran. Together, Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi established the Nobel Women's Initiative in January 2006.

The following editorial appeared in Wednesday's Houston Chronicle. 

Chance to change history

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was wistful in a recent interview with The New York Times. "I have regrets about Darfur, real regrets," she said. "I don't know that there were other answers. The president considered trying to do something unilaterally -- very difficult to do."

It was a rare statement of President George W. Bush's failure on a crisis he cares about: the destruction of civilians in Darfur, Sudan. Yet just last week, Bush showcased the leadership he could have exerted all along in this disaster.

It's not too late for him to do more -- and possibly become the president who stopped genocide, rather than just the one who thought about it.

Last week, Bush earned praise even from critics by demanding accountability from Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir. The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor had issued an indictment against Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Under Bashir's command, the Sudanese army and its janjaweed allies were responsible for 79 percent of civilian deaths due to direct violence in 2008, according to the nonprofit Genocide Intervention Network.

But allies such as France, caving to Bashir's bullying and incessant promises, have wavered over his prosecution. Bush, in contrast, has stoutly defended the ICC's arrest warrant.

According to Human Rights Watch, "the Bush administration has let it be known that, in the unlikely event that Sudan attracted the nine of 15 votes needed for the Security Council to suspend prosecution, it would veto the vote. That's the right thing to do."

Bush's stand is especially striking because he is no friend of the ICC. From his earliest days in office, he rejected the court's authority.

But also from the beginning, Bush has shown intense desire to bring peace to Sudan. He never received proper credit for a massive, early achievement: brokering peace in the brutal North/South Sudanese civil war. Bush's leadership in that conflict looks even more impressive today.

Without military intervention, loss of American lives, or even strong political motive, Bush ended a years-long war -- in a Muslim land.

Darfur, in Western Sudan, is an even more tangled conflict. But invading and doing nothing are not the U.S. president's only choices in ending the slaughter.

He can seize his chance for a legacy by taking the following steps in his last weeks.

First, he should visit the region. Far more than a photo-op, an appearance in Darfur would be a pulpit from which Bush can proclaim -- to the world -- that Bashir's genocide will not be ignored. When the U.S. prioritizes an issue, the rest of the world has little choice but to prioritize it too.

Bush can also meet Darfur refugees who have taken shelter in the United States. He did this in April 2006; he needs to remind Americans that Darfur's genocide still goes on two years later.

Bush should also propose further targeted international sanctions -- now cracking down on bank accounts and travel permits for intermediaries as well as principals behind Khartoum's murders.

And he can open the microphones in a public dialogue with China, which supplies Sudan's arms and much of its income. Bush reportedly has discussed Darfur with Chinese leaders behind closed doors. Now he needs to call for an international summit.

Finally, the president should study the feasibility of imposed no-fly zones over Sudan. In the last year alone, Khartoum has rained down 43 aerial bombardments on Darfur civilians. Contrary to its fiction, Sudan's government is actively helping to annihilate its own citizens.

No one knows better than Bush how fraught, and how frustrating, it is to end a war.

But outgoing presidents, brooding on their treatment by history, are also sensitized to the great rewards of peace. Today, Bush's presidency is synonymous with war in Iraq. But it should never be forgotten he once brokered the end to a war in Sudan. He still has time, and tools, to build on that legacy in Darfur.

The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition. To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].


African Voices
Join the Darfur Consortium


Action Professionals Association for the People

Aegis Trust Rwanda

African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies

African Center for Development

African Center for Justice and Peace Studies

Africa Internally Displaced Persons Voice (Africa IDP Voice)

African Security Dialogue and Research (ASDR)

African Women's Development and Communications Network (FEMNET)

The Ahueni Foundation

Alliances for Africa

Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies

Andalus Institute for Tolerance

Anti-Slavery International

Arab Coalition for Darfur

Arab Program for Human Rights Activists

Association Africaine de Defense des Droits de l'Homme (ASADHO)

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE)

Centre for Research Education and Development of Freedom of Expression and Associated Rights (CREDO)

Citizens for Global Solutions

Conscience International

Conseil National Pour les Libertés en Tunisie

Darfur Alert Coalition (DAC)

Darfur Centre for Human Rights and Development

Darfur Leaders Network (DLN)

Darfur Reconciliation and Development Organization (DRDO)

Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre

East Africa Law Society

Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

Femmes Africa Solidarité

La Fédération Internationale des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH)

Forum of African Affairs (FOAA)

Human Rights First

Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA)

Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa

Institute for Security Studies

Inter-African Union for Human Rights (UIDH)


International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya)

International Refugee Rights Initiative

Justice Africa

Justice and Peace Commission

Lawyers for Human Rights

Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections

Legal Resources Consortium-Nigeria

Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l'Homme

Makumira University College, Tumaini University

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)

Minority Rights Group

National Association of Seadogs

Never Again International

Open Society Justice Initiative

Pan-African Movement

Rencontre Africaine Pour la Defense des Droits de l'Homme (RADDHO)

Sierra Leone STAND Chapter

Sisters' Arabic Forum for Human Rights (SAF)

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)

Sudan Organization Against Torture (SOAT)

Syrian Organization for Human Rights

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)

Universal Human Rights Network


Women Initiative Nigeria (WIN)

©2007 Darfur Consortium. Design by Deirdre Reznik