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Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations
333 East 38th Street
New York, NY 10016

Your Excellency,

We the undersigned, support the Justice for Darfur campaign (http://www.justice4darfur.org/). You would by now have seen copies of letters submitted by the Justice for Darfur campaign to the UN Security Council and to the European Union.

In these letters, the Justice for Darfur campaign state that:

In 2007, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants against Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb for their alleged role in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Three years ago, the UN Security Council moved towards ensuring justice for the victims of horrific crimes in Darfur, when it decided to make its first ever referral to the ICC.

On March 31, 2005, when the Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC under resolution 1593, it imposed on Sudan a binding legal obligation to cooperate with the ICC

On April 27, 2007, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber issued arrest warrants for two men, Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb, charging them with 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their alleged leading roles in a series of attacks against civilians in West Darfur in 2003 and 2004. The charges include acts of murder, persecution, torture, rape, and forcible displacement.

These letters also allege that:

Since the referral, the government of Sudan has repeatedly refused to cooperate with the ICC

In the year since the warrants were issued, Sudanese authorities have not only refused to arrest and hand over the two suspects, they have allegedly given one of them increasingly prominent public positions and released the other from prison. Ahmad Harun has allegedly been promoted to State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, responsible for the well being of the very victims of his alleged crimes, and is now reportedly a key liaison to the United Nations - African Union peacekeeping force (UNAMID) in charge of their protection. In September 2007, he was also reportedly appointed to a committee in charge of hearing complaints of victims of human rights abuses in Sudan. In October 2007, the Sudanese Minister for Foreign Affairs announced that Ali Kushayb who was in Sudanese custody on other charges at the time the warrants were issued had been released for alleged lack of evidence.

The Justice for Darfur campaign also points out that when the prosecutor last briefed the UN Security Council in December 2007, he set out very clearly Khartoums complete and persistent failure to cooperate with the ICC. In response, each of the ten ICC state parties on the Security Council issued strong statements of condemnation, but the Security Council as a whole failed to follow up with any real action to support the prosecutors work. The prosecutor is due to report again in June 2008. At that time, the Justice for Darfur campaign urges the Security Council to ensure that that government of Sudan complies with its legal obligations to the ICC and:

On the occasion of the ICC prosecutors briefing to the Security Council in June, to issue a resolution recalling that Sudan has a legal obligation to cooperate with the ICC under resolution 1593 and requiring that it immediately arrests Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb and surrenders them to the Court;
To ensure that when the Security Council undertakes its next visit to Sudan, cooperation with the ICC is made a key point on its agenda, with clear and public calls on the Sudanese government to cooperate with the ICC.

While the signatories to this letter acknowledge that gross human rights violations are being perpetrated in many countries across the world, due to the impending report of the ICC prosecutor this month (June 2008), we specifically urge that the Security Council act decisively in implementing the recommendations of the Justice for Darfur campaign letter.

South Africa has played a pivotal role within the Non-Aligned Movement, the Commonwealth, the former Organisation of African Unity and the Southern African Development Community in the establishment of the ICC. South Africa also spearheaded ratification and implementation of the ICC within SADC.

It is imperative that South Africa now re-asserts its role as an international leader in the fight against impunity wherever it stems from. Three years ago the Security Council made a historic move by referring the Darfur situation to the ICC, a move that showed its commitment to pursuing peace in the region and justice for the victims of atrocities. South Africa must now use its influence to persuade the Security Council to honour that commitment.

We also call upon the South African government to act decisively and in a manner that resonates with the spirit of the South African constitution by unequivocally promoting and protecting human rights within South Africa, particularly as relating to the recent xenophobic violence; in the case of Darfur; and elsewhere in Africa and beyond. These actions will undoubtedly be vociferously measured against the sustained and committed support from Africa and beyond, for our struggle against apartheid.

cc: Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
Minister of Foreign Affairs

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Sally PalmerBy:
Nature and EnvironmentIn:
Petition target:
H.E. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo

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