- UN Security Council, Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, UN Secretary General, Office of
Date: 9 June 2011
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL
C/O H.E. Mr. Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet
President of the Council for the Month of June 2011
RE: SITUATION IN ABYEI, SUDAN
REFERRAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
End Impunity Organization (EIO) is a civil society movement based in Juba, South Sudan, established to fight impunity, advocate for justice, and lobby the international community for swift actions in the face of mass atrocities.
We are appalled by recent events in Abyei. On 21 May 2011 the government of Sudan invaded Abyei; carried out indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and forced the population of Abyei to flee the area in masses.
We ask the Security Council to refer the situation in Abyei to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for proper investigation, and authorize an emergency plan for the protection of civilians in and around Abyei.
We applaud the Security Council for reacting quickly and calling for the government of Khartoum to withdraw its military from Abyei immediately. Inline with this, we believe it is essential that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court investigates crimes committed in Abyei. Government officials, military officers, and militia leaders who orchestrated or participated in the violence must be brought to justice.
The government of the Sudan led by Omar Al-Bashir and his ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has demonstrated a history of gross misdeeds against the citizens of Sudan.
It is known on the world stage as the most repressive regime, piled for itself a brutal record of destruction on its own people. In Southern Sudan, the government had led a Jihadist war that claimed nearly two million souls. In Darfur the government still leading a campaign of genocide that left so far an estimated record of 400,000 deaths. In Nuba Mountains, in Eastern Sudan and on the minorities of the North, the government did show no mercy on its citizens. If not deterred the once indicted president, Al-Bashir's acts of bloodshed and misery are fast approaching the region of South Kordofan and Blue Nile state.
The invasion of Abyei demonstrated yet another inhuman and medieval act against innocent women, children, and the powerless. In violation of International law and International humanitarian law, president Al-Bashir declared Abyei a war zone, he publicly stated that "northern troops need no new orders; they may shoot if provoked by southerns.' Finding a pretext for war, Khartoum government within no time ordered troops, tanks, helicopters, accompanied with militias to pour into Abyei.
This irresponsible move caused hundreds of civilians to flee Abyei, many have been murdered, their properties have been looted and burned. Even the only bridge leading to safety that connects Abyei with the south has been blown up. In order to accomplish his campaign of destruction, Mr. Al-Bashir called upon the Arab Misseriya tribes to claim Abyei as their land. He reutilized the strategies used in Darfur. Just as in Darfur, ethnicity has been stirred-up in Abyei; ethnic Ngok Dinka driven out and northern-aligned Misseriya ethnic groups encouraged in to inhabit the area. This reflects a predetermined policy of ethnic cleansing.
From the lessons of Darfur we know that Sudanese courts are incompetent to investigate and prosecute crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing which we believed have occurred in Abyei. The jurisdictions of these crimes are lacking in the national judicial system of the government of Sudan. The AU High Level Panel on Darfur had made this point very clear, in its report of 2009 stated that "there are undoubted challenges in investigating and prosecuting mass crimes, Sudan still retains legislation giving immunity to members of the police and armed forces." The International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur described the Sudanese judicial system as "lacking adequate structures, authority, credibility, and willingness to effectively prosecute and punish perpetrators of crimes that continue to exist in Darfur." Similar crimes are taking place in Abyei today.
The referral of the Abyei case to the ICC would therefore be as just as it would be necessary. Allowing impunity in Abyei crimes would deny the victims to have access to the most needed international justice. The victims of Abyei have the fundamental rights to see that their abusers are prosecuted and held accountable for their crimes.
Article 13 of the Rome Statute allows the Security Council to refer to the court situations that would not otherwise fall under the court's jurisdiction. From this perspective, the Security Council should not undermine its mandate of referral to the ICC. Furthermore, Sudan as non-party state to the ICC has an obligation to co-operate with the court via its relationship to the Security Council and must abide by the authority of the Security Council as a UN member state.
The ICC involvement in this case would help -as an immediate reaction- to deter Sudanese forces from committing further atrocities. The Security Council should refer the Abyei situation to the ICC for investigation as a matter of urgency, thereby send a strong message to president Al-Bashir and his armed forces that impunity cannot be tolerated any where in Sudan and that victims have undeniable access to justice.
We thank you for your continued attention to Sudan
Barcai Mohamed Abdel-karim
EIO US Office Director
EIO Juba Office
Director South Sudan
Yahya M. Osman Alfaki
EIO West Africa Project Director Darfur Refugee Camps Coordination
Prof. John Ruach
EIO UK Office Director
Osman Ali Jami
EIO North Africa Project Director
Cc: The Honorable Secretary General of the UN
Honorable Members of the General Assembly
President, Assembly of the States Parties to the Rome Statute
Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court
The Refer Abyei to the ICC petition to UN Security Council, Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, UN Secretary General, Office of was written by EIO and is in the category Justice at GoPetition.