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Obama’s Support of Arrest Warrant for Sudanese President Al Bashir Pushes the US Administration’s Reasoning Forward but Must Avo

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CONTACT: press@ccrjustice.org

“We support the ICC in its pursuit of those who've perpetrated war crimes. We see no reason to support deferral [of the indictment] at this time.” — Ben Chang, Spokesman for President Obama's National Security Adviser, February 5, 2009

February 6, 2009, Paris, New York – The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) welcome the support expressed by the new U.S. Administration of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) efforts to prosecute current Sudanese President Al Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. This statement will reinforce the ICC Prosecutor’s 14 July 2008 request that the ICC judges deliver an international arrest warrant against the Sudanese President. FIDH and CCR call upon the new U.S. Administration to apply this reasoning forward and affirm the U.S.’s renewed commitment to the fight against impunity and its support of the ICC.

“Since the signature of the Rome Statute by Bill Clinton on December 31, 2000, the United States has turned its back on international justice. George W. Bush indeed 'nullified' the signature of his predecessor on May 6, 2002, and engaged into an aggressive campaign against the ICC, brutally restraining the hopes of victims of the most heinous crimes," said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.

Our organizations believe that Barack Obama administration’s strong statement on the Al Bashir case is a clear indication that a page is being turned. However, we hope the new standard will apply at home for the U.S. as it does abroad.

Said Vincent Warren, CCR Executive Director, “The Obama Administration’s stand against impunity for sitting President Al Bashir for serious international crimes and support of his arrest warrant should go hand in hand with the investigation and prosecution in U.S. courts of those American former high level officials, starting with Donald Rumsfeld, who ordered and authorized torture and war crimes. Not doing so would suggest an unacceptable double standard.”

FIDH and CCR believe that the signature and ratification of the Rome Statute by the United States, would, without a doubt, represent significant progress in the fight against impunity throughout the world. Until the United States ratifies the Rome Statute creating the ICC, it will have to demonstrate greater cooperation with the court.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.