Journal of the People’s Pastor

“Writing The History I’ve Lived, Living The History I Write!”

DARFUR DIARY

Part IV: Darfur Diary – My Journey to Belgium




On February 23 - 25, 2007 in the Daily Challenge, page 8, there was recorded an article with the headlines – ICC to name Darfur War Crimes Suspects on February 27. The article says, “The ICC chief prosecutor will name the first suspects accused of committing war crimes in the Sudan, Darfur region on February 27,” the prosecutor’s office said on Thursday.

Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said that in December his investigators had found evidence of rape, torture, murder and sexual violence in Darfur. His announcement is keenly awaited to see if he charges government figures as well as rebels.

“Moreno-Ocampo will submit evidence in connection with the named individuals of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur,” his office said in a statement, adding that the prosecutor will hold a press conference at 1300 GMT on February 27, 2007. Then in the Daily Challenge on February 28, the newspaper continued to carry the articles on the ICC. In an article written by Stephanie Van Den Berg entitled, International Court Name First Darfur War Crime Suspects – “The ICC yesterday named a Sudanese minister and a janjaweed militia leader as the first war crime suspects in the Darfur conflict.”

ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, accused the pair of 51 crimes against humanity and war crimes – including murder, torture and mass rape – as the stricken Sudanese region entered a 5th year of the civil war which has left more than 200,000 dead according to the UN figures.

Ahmed Haroun, Sudan’s minister for humanitarian affairs, and a former minister in charge of Darfur, and Ali Kosheib, a principal leader of the janjaweed militia, accused of some of the worst Darfur atrocities, could become the first Darfur suspects to face a war crime trial.

Moreno-Ocampo alleged in a statement that Haroun and Kosheib jointly committed crimes against the civilian population of Darfur.” He said, “there were reasonable grounds for formal war charges.”

On March 12, 2007, in the same paper there was a headline that says, Sudan Delays Trial of Suspects Wanted By ICC. The article relates that the Sudanese authorities have decided to delay the trial of Darfur militia leaders who are also wanted by the ICC. The Sudanese authorities said that the ICC had no jurisdiction to try its citizens for crimes in Darfur and they would try the two suspects, Ali Kosheib and Ahmed Haroun, themselves.

The Darfur Special Court was informed after a UN Security Council resolution referred Darfur’s conflict to the ICC in early 2005, the first such referral. But, el-Geneina, court officials, said, it had not convened there for a year.

This news coming from the ICC was particularly gratifying to my organization, the National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry Concerned About Darfur (NRLAA) and to me.

Our participation in the organizing efforts to walk from Brussels to The Hague, with rallies at the EU and NATO, we believe, had an impact. We speeded up the investigative process which has brought about the accusations against the persons mentioned above.

Our organization, NRLAA, was organized in October 2006. It has had tremendous success in bringing attention to the crises in Darfur. The UN has called the suffering in Darfur, Sudan, “the worse humanitarian crisis in the world today. Some people have called it genocide others have called it ethnic cleansing, whatever name we call it; it is still criminal behavior that has brought deep and persuasive suffering to thousands of innocent people.

It started in 2003 when the Sudanese government was accused of supporting the janjuweeds (evils on horseback) in killing, maiming, raping, the people of Darfur in the Western region of Sudan, and generally marginalized the people, resistance began to be formed. The resistant movement has grown. There have been various efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement. At this point, the efforts have failed.

Upcoming Events

Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday Night Community Forums. All Forums are held at the House of the Lord Church from 7pm to 9pm.

Join Operation Life Line if you need assistance or know someone who needs assistance with their mortgages as it relates to foreclosures, predatory lending and/or subprime lending.

Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum Focus on Africa the 2nd Saturday from 2pm to 4pm.

Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @ www.holnj.org.

Attend the Stop the Genocide in Darfur, Sudan Rally on Friday, April 4, 2008; assemble 12noon at the Sudan Mission located at 47th Street between 1st and 2nd Streets, walk to the Isaiah Wall then over to the Chinese Embassy located at 350 E. 35th Street for a Rally from 1pm to 2pm.