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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 a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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