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For Immediate Release

Charges of Genocide Against President Bashir A Welcome Step

Cambridge, Mass - 07/12/2010

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) applauds The International Criminal Court for issuing a second arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, this time for the crime of genocide. PHR first documented atrocities committed against the people of Darfur in its landmark 2006 report, Assault on Survival: A Call for Security, Justice and Restitution. The report alleged that the Government of Sudan and its proxy militias carried out a "systematic campaign of destruction against specific populations”, obliterating thousands of villages, killing, pillaging, plundering, and forcing men, women and children to flee into a "no man's land” which amounted to an "all out assault on the very survival of a population.”

"By issuing today's warrant, the ICC recognizes what PHR's research demonstrated years ago: Bashir's campaign against the civilian population of Darfur has the necessary characteristics of genocide under the Rome statute,” said PHR CEO Frank Donaghue. "Today's ruling brings us one step closer to getting justice for the many thousands of victims of Bashir's campaign of calculated violence and destruction of livelihoods documented by PHR.”

"Now that President Bashir is charged with genocide, it's more imperative than ever that the trial process go forward,” said Donaghue. "At the same time, the international community must ensure that these charges do not result in the targeting of civilians, aid workers or peacekeepers. The place for President Bashir to dispute these charges is in The Hague.”

In March 2009, the court's Pre-trial Panel issued a warrant for President Omar al-Bashir's arrest on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. At the time, two of the panel's three judges said they would not add the additional charge of genocide since ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo had not provided sufficient grounds to prove the intent to destroy the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur in whole or in part.

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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