A new hope for justice in Sudan

(KAMPALA and NEW YORK, April 1, 2005) The Darfur Consortium today welcomed the UN Security Council’s referral of the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a milestone on the road to justice. The Darfur Consortium, an umbrella group of primarily Africa-based civil society organizations, has urged the international court to be given jurisdiction to prosecute those committing the most serious crimes in Darfur.

“The Security Council has served notice to perpetrators of atrocities in Darfur that the world will not tolerate their behavior,” said Dismas Nkunda, a representative of the Consortium.

The Darfur Consortium also welcomed the Security Council’s acknowledgement that the Court has a role to the play in supporting complementary domestic efforts to achieve justice and reconciliation. Alongside the ICC’s prosecution efforts, there is a need for support to rebuild Sudan’s justice system, which has been eroded through decades of conflict.

The decision yesterday to allow the ICC prosecutor to pursue those most responsible for crime in Darfur follows two other resolutions approved in the last week. The first resolution authorized sending a mission, including 10,000 troops, to assist with implementation of the peace agreement ending the North-South civil war. The second imposed targeted sanctions against those suspected of responsibility for the violence. These steps, alongside the ICC referral, are essential to achieving a peaceful and stable Sudan.

“There is still more work to be done,” said Dismas Nkunda, “but we hope that this week’s votes in the Security Council are a signal that the plight of Darfurians has been pushed to the top of the international agenda.”