The Sudanese Government’s signal that it may send former President Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court to face charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur has been warmly welcomed by survivors of mass atrocities in the region.
“People are jubilant. We never thought this day would come; it’s unbelievable,” says Ishag Mekki, Chair of Darfur Victims Organisation for Rehabilitation and Relief (DVORR), whose sister was murdered in Darfur. “We remain cautious, because it’s not happened yet, but this would be a huge step forward for justice and for the peace process, because this was a big obstacle. It could lead on to the return of the two million Darfuris from exile, to take part in elections after the transition. It would signal real change happening here.”
“In 2004 the Aegis Trust proposed the situation in Darfur be referred to the ICC,” says Chief Executive Dr James Smith. It’s been a difficult road with many detractors, but 16 years on, victims of mass atrocities may yet see some justice.”