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Darfur Association "disheartened" by ICC decision to not meet them

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12 December 2014

RE: DPANY Requests/Direction of the OTP in the Situation of Darfur

Dear Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda,

We, the Darfur People’s Association of New York, are disheartened by your decision to repeatedly decline our invitation for a meeting, especially since the former chief prosecutor, Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, met with us twice in Brooklyn, New York.

Since you took office in 2012, we had high hopes for your tenure as the first African and the first woman prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, but we have seen no new progress since you began: no arrests, no trials, no new investigations and no new cases.

We are writing to you in order to express our serious concern about the current direction taken by the Office of the Prosecutor in the Darfur situation. 31 March 2015 will mark a decade since the United Nations Security Council referred the Darfur situation to the ICC.

We understand that the enforcement of the issued arrest warrants relies on cooperation from States Parties to the Rome Statute and that you have consistently filed non-compliance documents against all States that welcomed Omar al-Bashir after the first ICC warrant of arrest was issued against him in 2009. However, it seems that you have overlooked procedures to hold the Government of Sudan accountable for their failure to cooperate with the cases in the situation of Darfur. Additionally, you could have continued with further investigations and cases to highlight the fact that crimes are ongoing and just as serious as the publicized attacks in 2004-2005.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s expanded genocidal campaign into the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, the Blue Nile state, and Abyei is a direct result of the outstanding ICC arrest warrants relating to the situation of Darfur. Deliberate atrocious attacks have continued unabated in Darfur, including on civilians in Hashaba in 2012, Tawila in 2013 and 2014, and the 31 October 2014 mass rapes of reportedly 200 women and girls in Tabit, North Darfur. These mass atrocities are a direct consequence of the years of manipulated reports by UNAMID and DPKO; together, they concealed critical information from the UNSC and willfully hindered the OTP’s access to evidence.

It has come to our attention that your office considers the Darfur situation to be "in hibernation." While you are sleeping, the perpetrators and ongoing attacks on civilians in Darfur are still happening due to the lack of accountability. We, the Darfuri community, stand ready to support any further investigation, and to help to track down the witnesses and evidence that would support a new arrest warrant.

We understand that no resources have been requested in the draft budget for 2015, and therefore, we are very concerned that the OTP has dropped its responsibility to take the lead in moving this situation forward. It is not enough to use the lack of resources as a reason to drop the OTP’s responsibility to continue investigating. It looks like you have given up on us and are relying on the lack of enforcement of the arrest warrants for your lack of action.

At a gala dinner at the United Nations this past Sunday, where you officially launched your new Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes, you said, "The victims of such devastating crimes will not find solace in our words and promises, but in what we manage to deliver in concrete terms. We must end sexual and gender-based crimes, and I am confident, together, we can." We could not agree more. Until the Government of Sudan is held responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, the sexual violence in conflict zones will not end. Your words and promises are not enough.

We urge you to work proactively with States Parties to the ICC and seek the resources you need to conduct further Darfur investigations.

Sincerely,

/s/ Mohamed Ebead
Mohamed Ebead
President
Darfur People’s Association of New York

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