October 6, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Holocaust scholars are protesting the omission of the Darfur genocide from the agenda of U.S. and other diplomats visiting Sudan this week.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, together with ambassadors from other countries on the U.N. Security Council, will arrive in Sudan on October 6. The official Terms of Reference for the delegation’s visit, obtained by InnerCityPress.com, do not mention either the Darfur genocide or the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Sudanese president Omar Bashir for his role in the genocide.
Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in Washington, D.C., said: “Just last month, Arab militias slaughtered 37 Darfurians, and wounded more than 50 others, in the village of Tabra. Yet the indicted perpetrator of the Darfur genocide, President Bashir, openly visits U.S. allies such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia–and the U.S. is silent. Now a senior U.S. official travels to Sudan–and Darfur and the Bashir indictment are not even on the agenda. The United States is evading its moral obligation to act against the perpetrators of genocide.”
The failure of the U.S. to insist on including Darfur and Bashir’s indictment in the delegation’s agenda is the latest in a series of actions indicating that the U.S. is not taking concrete steps to facilitate implementation of the ICC’s warrant against Bashir. Other recent developments:
–September 24, 2010: President Obama, in his speech at the United Nations, omits any reference to implementing the ICC warrant against Bashir. Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha, at the U.N., praises “the emergent spirit of the United States of America of positive and constructive engagement.” Three days later, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu defends the OIC’s support of Bashir on the grounds that “even President Obama did not mention the International Criminal Court.” (http://www.innercitypress.
–September 15, 2010: At a State Department press conference, the U.S. envoy to Sudan, Amb. Scott Gration, is asked what the U.S. is doing to help implement the ICC warrants for Bashir and others in connection with the Darfur genocide. Gration replies vaguely that he supports “calls of the ICC for these people to comply with the restrictions and requests from the ICC,” but gives no specific examples of anything the U.S. has done to facilitate arrests.
–May 12, 2010: Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 12, 2010, Amb. Gration indicates the U.S. now supports the African Union’s proposal to have Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir judged by a local Sudanese court rather than by the ICC. (That would greatly increase the chances of Bashir being acquitted or receiving a light sentence.)
–March 4, 2010: At a State Department briefing, Amb. Gration says “[W]e support efforts to ensure that President Bashir answers the questions that the ICC has posed,” and
made no reference to the need to arrest Bashir.
The Wyman Institute sponsors the “Bashir Watch” project, which tracks Bashir’s travels and encourages international action to arrest him. Other recent Wyman Institute efforts include a July 2009 letter by 100 Holocaust and genocide scholars to the government of Uganda, praising it for discouraging Bashir from attending a summit in Uganda; an August 2009 petition by 100 Jewish leaders to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, when he visited the U.S., criticizing him for welcoming Bashir to Egypt; an October 2009 letter to President Obama by 119 rabbis, urging active U.S. intervention in Darfur; and a November 2009 letter by 220 prominent Christian and Jewish clergy, on the anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials, urging U.S. action to bring Bashir to justice.