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For Immediate Release

Sudan's Appointment of Accused War Criminal to Human Rights Panel Is Affront to Rule of Law

UN Security Council Must Ensure Haroun's Arrest and Delivery to The Hague

Cambridge, Mass - 09/12/2007

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today condemned Sudan's nomination of Ahmed Haroun, a suspected war criminal, to co-chair a national committee investigating human rights abuses in Sudan's Darfur region. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant this spring for the arrest of Haroun (now serving as Sudan's Humanitarian Affairs Minister) for recruiting, arming and conspiring with pro-government militia (the Janjaweed) to attack various towns and villages in Darfur. PHR called on Sudan to immediately withdraw his name from consideration for the committee and comply with the warrant for his arrest by the ICC. The United Nations Security Council and all signatories to the Rome Statute must also vigorously oppose this nomination and pressure Sudan to arrest Haroun and deliver him to The Hague for trial, the group said.

"Haroun's nomination shows the Government of Sudan's utter contempt for the rule of law," said Frank Donaghue, CEO of Physicians for Human Rights. "It is an outrage to appoint a principal architect of Darfur's horrors to probe the very abuses he is alleged to have orchestrated".

Though human rights groups have been sharply critical of the government's hypocrisy, there has been little reaction to Haroun's nomination by the international community.

"The silence of the international community has been deafening," said Donaghue. "The US and all other members of the UN Security Council must ensure that Haroun is arrested and delivered to The Hague immediately."

As Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Haroun currently oversees the ongoing humanitarian effort on behalf of the Sudanese Government, including controlling the access of aid workers to the region and the flow of equipment and supplies to groups operating there. The humanitarian operation in response to the Darfur conflict, which has flowed over the border into neighboring Chad, is currently the world's largest relief effort with 14,000 international aid workers on-the-ground supported by hundreds of millions of dollars in international funding.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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