NEW YORK—“The ICC is the Place to Be!” was among several of the slogans shouted by dozens of Darfur advocates and members of the Darfuri Civil Society (DCS) in a July 22 rally near the United Nations in support of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Moreno-Ocampo’s announcement that he has requested an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has brought approval from Darfur activists worldwide.
“Mr. Moreno-Ocampo’s request to examine the culpability of President Al-Bashir for the genocide committed against our friends and families brings us some hope that the international community may finally match its rhetoric with actions that lead to real results in [Sudan],” said the DCS.
Protestors and Sudanese alike lined up in the Dag Hammarskjöld Park at the intersection of 47th St. and First Ave. with banners, some of which said ‘Thank you Mr. Ocampo,’ ‘End Genocide in Darfur,’ and ‘Bring al-Bashir to Justice.’ Juxtaposed with the sense of urgency and importance of the situation in Darfur was an expression of gratitude towards the ICC and Moreno-Ocampo.
“Mr. Moreno-Ocampo’s unwavering commitment to seeking justice for the people of Darfur led him to his historic decision and we sincerely thank the UN Security Council for referring the case of Darfur to the ICC and providing Mr. Moreno-Ocampo with the mandate to carry out his assigned mission,” the DCS stated.
According to various international humanitarian organizations, about 200,000 to 400,000 people have died in the crisis in Darfur. Most of the deaths have come from not only murders and killings instigated by the Janjaweed militia, but also from starvation and disease. Almost 3 million are misplaced, and Darfuri refugees are deprived of basic human necessities such as food, water, health care, and shelter.
Despite the recent news from the ICC and Moreno-Ocampo, the DCS knows that there is still much to be done before peace is to be the norm in Darfur, and that they can only be optimistic against overwhelming odds.
“It is our sincere hope that the member states of the Security Council will continue to support [Ocampo’s] efforts to reveal the truth about the genocide committed in Darfur as the proceedings of the ICC will help end the culture of impunity in Darfur and Sudan and assist all Darfuris and Sudanese in their efforts to end the Darfur catastrophe and build sustainable peace.”