Chairwoman Hautala met on 9 December with Salih Osman, the 2007 laureate of the European Parliament Sakharov prize for freedom of thought, to discuss the latest developments in the Darfur, Sudan, and Mr Osman’s activity in this respect, as well as the developments in the ICC.
Mr Osman is a human rights lawyer and has defended and given free legal aid to hundreds of victims of human rights abuses in Darfur. The current human rights situation was discussed in the meeting in detail and sadly it was acknowledged that no tangible improvement has taken place. The widespread displacements and killings of people continue and the rape is still pervasive in the unstable areas. Human rights defenders face multiple challenges as they are systematically harassed, attacked and even killed. There is no press freedom or independent courts to turn to.
Dim light to the situation was shed by the International Criminal Court when 4. March 2009 it issued a warrant for the arrest of Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, President of Sudan, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He is suspected of being criminally responsible, as an indirect co-perpetrator, for intentionally directing attacks against the people in Darfur by murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians, and pillaging their property.
This is the first warrant of arrest ever issued for a sitting Head of State by the International Criminal Court. Despite this ground breaking development the results have remained thin. In response to the indictment Mr Bashir disputed the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court on the whole, while most of the African and Arab League states have leaped to Mr Bashir´s defence, openly defying the arrest warrant.
Chairwoman Hautala and Mr. Osman, the 2007 laureate of the European Parliament Sakharov prize, thus call for the European Union to press the United Nations Security Council to lend its full support to the developing of international criminal accountability and the Security Council to do its utmost to assist the International Criminal Court in bringing those responsible of this atrocious human tragedy, to justice.