Journal of the People’s Pastor

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

DARFUR DIARY

Darfur Diary: President Omar El Bashir Indicted



On Monday July 14, 2008, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Prosecutor, Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, located in the Haage Netherlands, placed a 10-page summary of an indictment before the three (3) judge court. The summary painted a picture of Mr. Bashir’s action claiming that it had tracked all the known attacks from 2003 to 2008 and demonstrated the government’s genocidal strategy to attack civilian towns and villages.

The charges included three (3) counts of genocide in the killings of people in the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa’s ethnic groups; five (5) counts of crimes against humanity involving murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape; and two (2) counts of war crime involving attacks on civilian populations in Darfur and the pillaging of towns and villages. Mr. Moreno said, at a News Conference in the Haage, he had irrefutable evidence of Bashir’s masterminding the atrocities. He said, “There is very strong evidence that El-Bashir controlled everything: the generals, the intelligence, the ministers, and the media.” “The janjaweed militia called him directly for instructions,” the prosecutor said. Thirty-five thousand people are reported to have been killed from the three (3) ethnic groups. In addition, the UN estimates 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million people displaced. Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said thousand of women and girls were raped with the rapist expressing genocidal intent by saying the victims would bare Arab babies.

The conflict started in 2003. The Darfurian people accused the Sudanese government of marginization. Rebel armies were organized to resist. Early 1980, Bashir launched an invasion of south Sudan. After a 23-year war, a Peace Agreement was consummated in 2005. Among other things, given the south Sudan semi-autonomy, including the right to elect its own president, who would be vice president in the central government and a plebiscite in 2011, to determine independence or federation with the central government. Significantly, both south Sudan and Darfur, which is in the western region of Sudan, are indigenous Africans. The minority leaders of the central government are Arabs.

Critics of Mr. Moreno-Ocampo claim that his decision would create more chaos and suffering as Bashir may attempt to retaliate. The prosecutor, however, responded that he was mandated to do a job. He has done it. Now it is up to others to act. He did strike a note of urgency. He said, “While we are delaying genocide is continuing.” On the other side, rebel leaders and international organizations have praised the decision. Suleiman Sandal of the Justice Equality Movement said, “The decision on this indictment is a victory for humanity. Now the decision will put Bashir in a corner and will help us now to overtake his regime. A criminal man can not be President of a member state of the United Nations.”

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo is asking the judges to issue a warrant for Mr. Bashir’s arrest. It is anticipated a decision will be rendered in two to three months. It is expected the judges will grant the prosecutors request.

Mr. Bashir had said he rejects the indictment and vowed to resist any attempt to arrest him. A Sudanese spokesman said he expected support from Russia, China, the African Union (AU) and the Arab league.

Immediately, after the indictment was issued, I released a press statement. In it I said:

“On behalf of the National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry Concerned about Darfur (NRLAA) and the victims of the alleged genocide, I applaud the long overdue action of the ICC’s Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, to indict the Sudan president on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. In December 2006, I participated in a march sponsored by an international movement in Brussels, Belgium. Participants marched from Brussels, Belgium to the court in Haage urging the court to indict the Sudanese government. I want to believe that our actions contributed to this decision.
I visited the refugee camps in Chad on two (2) occasions. On one occasion, we delivered 600 boxes of material support. I spoke to refugees, rebel leaders and soldiers, educators, religious leaders, humanitarian workers and government officials throughout Chad and south Sudan. There testimonies were always the same – “First came the planes, then the big military vehicles and guns, and then came the riders on horses and camel backs. They raped, kidnapped, killed and maimed. They destroyed everything and they took our land and our properties.”

I applaud the decision for another reason. Now the world would hear the evidence, and in fairness to Mr. El-Bashir, he will have his day in court and/or be able to show contrary evidence of his innocence. He has claimed that only 9,000 people have been killed. The UN and other authorities have claimed anywhere from 200 – 400,000 people have been killed and 2.5 to 2.7 million people have been displaced.

NRLAA is planning a demonstration at the United Nations, Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 12noon to 1pm, to persuade the UN Security Council to support the ICC prosecutor’s decision.”

It is important for those of us who have been supportive of the Darfurian people to increase our organizing. We must heighten the pressure wherever we think it will get results. The process started by the Prosecutor must end with an arrest warrant. The UN Security Council, which asked the court in 2005 to investigate the Darfur crises, has the authority to suspend an investigation or prosecution for at least a year.

Again it is imperative that we do all we can to expedite the process leading to a warrant for Mr. Bashir’s arrest. LET US REMEMBER, WHILE WE DELAY GENOCIDE CONTINUES.

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. ALL FORUMS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED FOR THE MONTH OF JULY AND AUGUST.

On Saturday, August 2, 2008, all are invited to Join Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry in Prospect Park at the Music Pagoda (The Nethermead) from 11am to 5 pm, where he will be celebrating 50 years of practicing a holistic ministry and providing activist service to the Community. Entertain will be provided by Randy Weston, the Anointed Voices, The Cohen Brothers, Min. Lawrence Craig, Bishop Nathaniel Townsley & the Gospel Jubilee. There will be words of encouragement from the activist community, the religious community, the political arena and many, many others. The event is free. Bring your own food to cook out. Rain date will be at the House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, downtown Brooklyn, NY, same day same time.

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 @ HYPERLINK "http://www.holnj.org" www.holnj.org.

NEED QUALITY CHILD CARE? – Call the Alonzo A. Daughtry Memorial Daycare Center Located at 333 Second Street, (Between 4th & 5th Avenues) downtown Brooklyn, NY @ (718) 499-2066. Immediate openings in a state of the arts center.