Darfur Union in the UK Commemorates the 9th Anniversary of Bashir Indictment by International Criminal Court (ICC) in Leicester
In spite of the freezing weather and difficulty with travels and for the third successive year, Darfur Union in the UK, among other civil society organisations, has commemorated the 4th March date. This year, it marked the 9th anniversary of Bashir indictment by International Criminal Court (ICC). The event was held on Saturday 3rd March 2018 at the Darfur Association Venue in Leicester.
In memory of the victims of :
1. The ongoing genocide in Darfur
2. The ongoing Bashir war in Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and beyond
3. Enforced displacement – IDP and refugees.
4. Demographic changes in the region
Change is going to come and eventually justice will prevail
The presenters of the day were young Sudanese from Leicester. This did pump more energy into the event as they were creative with their words and open mic skills. The opening session included reciting of poems about being away from home, the suffering of our people, living under dictatorship in Sudan, and how justice will always prevail by keeping positive and by having the will to fight injustice. Other participants and attendees were from across the UK, representatives of Civil Societies Organisations such as Darfur Women of Leicester, Sudanese Citizen Organisation, Sudanese Youth of Manchester, and Sudan Civil Disobedience in the UK plus political bodies such as Sudan Communist Party and others.
Speakers from Darfur Unions in the UK focused on the significance of the day by mentioning that the 4th March does represent an important date for the people in Sudan in general and those in Darfur in particular. It marks the beginning of long lost justice. Elsadig Elnor, the Chairman of the Union took the audience on a quick rundown the memory lane by talking about the famous press conference in La Hague, 8 years ago, where Luis Ocampo, the former general prosecutor of the ICC, announced that his team have enough evidence to prosecute Omer Bashir, the sitting president of Sudan, for crimes committed under his commands, that counts for the following:
5 counts for crimes against humanity
2 counts of war crimes
3 counts of genocide
The gathering of evidence of above mentioned crimes were concluded by the 12th July 2010, under the statue of Rome. Two warrants of arrest issued by the Pre Trial Chamber are out there, and the perpetrator (Bashir) is at large.
Since then, several light attempts were put in place to arrest Bashir, in Kenya, Nigeria and the last one was in South Africa, June 2015. During Bashir visit to participate in AU summit, an interim order was made by the high court in Pretoria, barring President Bashir from leaving South Africa, after civil organisations called for his arrest on the basis of an ICC warrant. Bashir managed to escape after the executive bodies failed to conduct the judiciary orders. This came as an embarrassment to SA government and as a huge disappointment to the people of Sudan in Darfur, and justice advocates around the world. Nonetheless, the ICC prosecution case against Bashir has proved to be a source of uncomfort to the perpetrator and his government, and it is a source of inspiration for the people of the region. Since the indictment, Bashir and his militias have waged a viscous war in Darfur, and also extended their genocide plans to the regions of Nuba Mountains and Blue Niles.
Other speakers from the Union, including Abdelmajid Suliman, Secretary of the Humanitarian Affairs and his deputy Ahmed Issa, talked about the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the IDP camps and how the international community is turning a blind eye on Bashir crimes in Darfur and beyond and how the numbers of new IDP have rocketing exponentially after the escalation of violence over the 2016 and the first quarter of 2017.
Another aspect of Bashir crimes which was covered at the event by Issa was the demographic changes in the region. New settlers were brought by the government and they were given the lands of the displayed people. The overall goal from this act plus the conversions of the IDP camps into villages/ mini towns is to diminish the evidence of the crimes committed over the years by the government of Sudan.
This has happened a few months ago in the village of Kuguli (see ref. 1), North Darfur, where new settlers were brought to the area and they were given the leadership of the locality on September the 1st 2016. This council was run over the years by the natives from African tribes. The Speakers at the events emphasise on the importance of documenting such crimes for evidence against the perpetrators.
Ref. 1: Demographic Changes in Darfur Province and the Latest Report on Chemical Weapon usage in Darfur – https://darfurunionuk.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/darfur-union-in-the-uk-demographics-changes-in-darfur-province-and-the-latest-report-on-chemical-weapon-usage-in-darfur.
Darfur Union in the UK members has also discussed the Darfur Report 2017-2018:- Will 2018 Brings a Renewed Hope for Peace in Sudan under Bashir? Thus far… Darfur Begs to Differ.
The calendar year 2017-2018 was christened and ended with waves of violence and aggression by the government of Sudan against the civilians across the country, in the capital, major cities, towns, localities and villages. Before getting into the listing of atrocities and the failures of the international community to apply pressure on Bashir regime, one has to talk about the way the government of Sudan (GoS) reacted to the peaceful demos across the country on the wake of the ongoing economic turmoil in Sudan. GoS ordered the troops to use excessive force to dismantle the Demos accords Sudan.
An open questions and answers session took place at the end of the event, which involved executive members of the Darfur Union giving advice to the new arrival and ways to integrate into society.
The day was concluded with an open mic session for all to share their stories, memories, comments and way forwards. The event was also a good opportunity for the union to know the community of Leicester and also a chance for the members to tell audience about the help/ service that Darfur Union can offers.
Letters to the UN Secretary General and UK Prime Minister were signed by representatives of all organisations which attended the event and also countersigned by other sister organisations and friend of Darfur/Sudan across the globe. The letters will be sent/ delivered to both parties as part of Darfur Union campaign with regards to significance of the 4th March to our people.
We hope that the human crisis will end soon and justice will prevail by seeing Bashir behind bars, then NEVER AGAIN will be a reality.
Direct link (photos and article):-
Press Officer, Darfur Union in the United Kingdom
Twitter handle: @Darfurunionuk