On this day twenty years ago, the Rome Statute was adopted, giving way to the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002. Until today 123 countries have ratified the Rome Statute and thus became members of the ICC. Complementing national judicial systems, the ICC launched investigations in cases of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression, and indicted 39 individuals including heads of states and warlords from a range of mostly African countries. Among them, Omar al-Bashir, the sitting president of Sudan, who was indicted for the Situation in Darfur in ICC’s first ever case that opened in 2005. Despite two arrest warrants issued by the Court, al-Bashir remains at large.
Blinken OSA marks the International Justice Day by presenting from its human rights collections a report on the Darfur crisis compiled by the Africa Watch division of Human Rights Watch on April 6, 1990. The report summarizes the events of the civil war since its beginning in 1987 and documents how the situation, after a short respite due to peace negotiations in June 1989 worsened by early 1990, when armed paramilitary units encouraged and backed by the Sudanese government renewed and intensified their attacks on villages inhabited by the non-Arab Fur tribes in the Western and Southern parts of Darfur. The civilian population of Darfur witnessed the outbreak of a full-scale war resulting in burned down houses, thousands of casualties and tens of thousands of displaced persons under the presidency of Omar al-Bashir, who raised to power following a coup d’état in June 1989.