Monday, October 19, 2009

Irish Aid Worker Freed In the Sudan

An Irishe girl who had gone to the Darfur region of Sudan with a group called GOAL was abducted 100 days ago on July 3, 2009 at gunpoint with her companion, Hilda Kawuki. The Irish government sent its jet to retrieve Sharon Commins who was released Saturday.

I'm glad they're going home. I can't imagine the courage it must have taken to enter that region in the first place. I don't know what to say about Darfur. It has gone on for so long and as usual it is the women and children who suffer the most. I don't understand a government that can allow, much less participate in the abuse and torture of its own citizens, civilians! In the face of all of that horror, I am truly thankful for this one simple mercy. I shudder to think of those who may not have made it home. The article merely says that it was a gang that abducted them, not what its affiliation may have been. The girls thanked the Sudanese government among others for their release, but I suppose I would have too under the circumstances.

Darfur is a region comprised of three states/territories in Sudan, a country in Africa along the border with Chad, another country in Africa. The conflict in Darfur has been going on since 2003. The death toll cannot be accurately measured due to all of those displaced who have died of malnutrition and disease, but it is measured in the hundreds of thousands.[1] I saw in one report that over two million people had lost their homes. Many people fled to Chad and when trouble began to escalate there, they fled back to Darfur. The people suffer murder and rape at the hands of the government as well as a government backed militia calling itself Janjiweed. This group was instrumental in the origins of the Danfur conflict as were the rebel groups the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and the Justice and Equality Movement.[2]

[1] Wikipedia, War in Darfur

[2] Wikipedia, War in Darfur

The International Criminal Court, ICC, has issued warrants for Ahmad Muhammad Harun ("Ahmad Harun"), Former Minister of State for the Interior of the Government of Sudan; Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs of Sudan.

Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman ("Ali Kushayb"), alleged leader of the Militia/Janjaweed.

And, Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir , President of the Republic of Sudan since 16 October 1993. Warrant of arrest issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I 4 March 2009. Which of course, he has ignored and even flaunted.



The warrant of arrest for Al Bashir lists seven counts on the basis of his
individual criminal responsibility under Article 25(3)(a) of the Rome
Statute as an indirect (co) perpetrator including:

• five counts of crimes against humanity: murder - Article 7(1)(a);
extermination - Article 7(1)(b); forcible transfer - Article 7(1)(d); torture -
Article 7(1)(f); and rape - Article 7(1)(g);

• two counts of war crimes: intentionally directing attacks against a
civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in
hostilities -Article 8(2)(e)(i); and pillaging - Article 8(2)(e)(v).

All perpetrators are still presently at large.[1]

However, today Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, a rebel leader charged with three war crimes alleged to have been committed during the Haskanita attack in 2007 has appeared before the ICC in The Hague in Netherlands.[2] While The Hague is the governmental center, Amsterdam is the Capitol of the Netherlands.[3]

[1] International Criminal Court
[2] TIMELINE: The International Criminal Court and Sudan
[3] Wikipedia

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