In interventions before the Fifth Session of the UN Human Rights Council: CIHRS Hails International Trial of War Criminals in Darfur and Calls for Protection of Human Rights Mechanisms at the UNHRC

In International Advocacy Program by

A delegation representing the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights participated in the proceedings of the Fifth Session of the United Nations Human Rights Security Council held in Geneva, June 11-18, 2007. The delegation presented an intervention for tackling the human rights crisis in Darfur, the victims need for peace and protection, and the necessity of punishing criminals.
The delegation held the Sudanese government responsible for the continuing acceleration of violence and instability in Darfur. The government is maintaining its policies, harassing and hindering the work of the international organizations working in the region. This has greatly affected the provision of assistance to more than 2.1 million displaced persons. Moreover, the raids by government aircrafts and the militia attacks against civilians resulted in the displacement of more than 110,000 persons in Darfur during the first three months this year.
In its intervention, the delegation highlighted that justice procedures in the Sudanese legal system suffer from fatal shortcomings; granting military war criminals immunity from being tried. Moreover, the government does not investigate such crimes, making it impossible to have fair local trials for criminals in Sudan. In fact, the Sudanese government has always adopted the policy of revoking its responsibility for any violations of human rights in Darfur in order to avoid penalties for the illegal acts perpetrated by the government, or parties supported by the government, in the region.
Though the delegation hailed the recent reports on the Sudanese government’s consent to deploy a multi-national force under the African Union and the UN in Darfur, it highlights the need for the UN Human Rights Council to pass a resolution reinstating full obligation of the Sudanese government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, and recognizing the responsibility of the Sudanese government and the rebels for the human rights violations in Darfur.
Furthermore, the success of resuming the peace process between the Sudanese government and the rebel groups in Darfur will be conditional on the Sudanese government’s stance on including the international community as an actor in the negotiations. However, the delegation expressed its alarm for the diplomatic and political support offered by China, the Arab states, and the Organization of Islamic Conference to the Sudanese government. Such support helps perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity to avoid punishment.
On a separate note, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies participated in the current discussions in the Council on reforming human rights mechanisms in the UN. It presented a statement on the significance of enhancing the authority of the UN special rapporteurs and not undermining their capacity to contact NGOs or receive complaints from victims of human rights violations. CIHRS also stressed the importance of civil society playing an essential role in the new mechanisms that will be established by the Council to monitor the Member States’ commitments under the international human rights conventions.


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