If you have been following the news on Sudan, you may know of an exciting recent development — a member of Sudan’s ruling council stated recently that the council had reached an agreement “to hand over those facing arrest from the International Criminal Court.” Omar al-Bashir, the nation’s former President, overthrown by a popular uprising last year, is under indictment from the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed against his civilian population, including the people of the Nuba Mountains.
If extradited, al-Bashir could face trial for genocide and crime against humanity in the Hague, something the human rights and NGO community have long called for.
As you may recall from The Heart of Nuba, Dr. Tom Catena has been documenting the war crimes he has witnessed against the people of Nuba in the course of his work in the hospital. We believe this documentation will help put to rest any doubts about the effect of al-Bashir’s actions against his own citizens:
We have been in touch with Dr. Tom, who as you may recall said in The Heart of Nuba that he was recording the cases of children and adults bombed, injured and killed by Sudanese forces under Sudan, “as evidence for his trial for war crimes.”
While we are all cautiously optimistic, Dr. Tom suggested that we wait and see how this plays out. The country’s ruling council is composed of both civilian and military leaders, some of whom were appointed by al-Bashir and could possibly, if he is extradited, face criminal charges themselves for their involvement in earlier atrocities.
The NGO community, many of whom have been invaluable partners on our social impact campaign for The Heart of Nuba, have our endless admiration for the continual work they have done to raise awareness on the atrocities being committed by the al-Bashir government against his own people, and for bringing al-Bashir one step closer to justice.
Sudanese Prime Minister Hamdok’s recognized the power of the activist movement in comments last November:
“… the campaign here in the states and elsewhere in the world created that momentum which helped our people inside the country to topple the dictatorship. So the struggle here, the Darfur movement, Enough, Save Darfur, and all these efforts over the years which helped us to reach where we are now, and I think we are very appreciative and we owe it to that effort.”
The NGOs have also been essential to mobilizing humanitarian resources for those injured, displaced and cut off by the atrocities around them. Dr. Tom has said more than once that he does not know how the Mother of Mercy Hospital would be standing today if it were not for this kind of support.
We are proud that The Heart of Nuba has played even a small part in helping to raise awareness and generate life-saving support for the Sudanese people.