Jewish Journal

Jewish Group: Long-Awaited Bashir Arrest Is a “Window of Opportunity”

by Jay Firestone

March 5, 2009 | 3:32 pm

Omar al Bashir

This is a statement made by Jewish World Watch president Janice Kamenir-Reznik and JWW executive director Tzivia Schwartz Getzug.

March 4, 2009

In an unprecedented move, judges at the International Criminal Court today issued a long-awaited arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al Bashir – the first time such a warrant has ever been issued against a sitting head of state. 

The issuance of this arrest warrant is an essential step towards both peace and justice in Sudan. We are proud that our advocacy efforts, along with those of the anti-genocide movement nationwide, have helped to move us closer to this event. A real and credible challenge to Bashir – prosecution in an international court – now exists. The international community must not let this remarkable window of opportunity pass.

In the lead up to the arrest warrant, Bashir has attempted to mount a charm offensive to convince the international community to defer the arrest warrant, even purportedly calling for free and fair elections.

But this conciliatory approach is thinly veiled, as he has simultaneously escalated attacks against civilians and aid workers and blocked humanitarian relief to over 100,000. 

Bashir has also threatened further retaliation against civilians, aid workers and UNAMID peacekeepers if and when this charge came through. This attempt at blackmailing the international community is unacceptable and cannot be condoned. 

President Obama must respond to these threats immediately and decisively. We ask that he issue immediate warnings to President Bashir that there will be consequences for any reprisal attacks. He must also urgently announce the appointment of a full-time, senior level envoy to Sudan that has a full
diplomatic team charged with bringing peace to Darfur and fully implementing Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement. 

Jewish World Watch is a coalition of more than 60 synagogues working together to mobilize synagogues, their schools, members and the community to combat genocide and other egregious violations of human rights around the world.  In response to the 400,000 civilians that have been murdered and the nearly 2.5 million people who have been displaced in the Sudan, Jewish World Watch chose Darfur as its first advocacy campaign.  Since its inception, these synagogues have actively mobilized to stop the genocide in Darfur and have allocated more than $2,000,000 in direct assistance to the people in Darfur.

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