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International Criminal Court Indictments an Important Step Toward Justice In Sudan: Reform Jewish Leader

Pelavin:“In initiating these proceedings the International Criminal Court is sending a powerful message to Sudanese leaders and to leaders of terror regimes throughout the world that no one is immune from punishment for perpetrating such egregious actions.”

Contact: Sean Thibault or Jonah Perlin
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

Washington, July 11, 2008 – In response to the announcement that the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo will seek an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

“On Monday, the International Criminal Court will begin judicial proceedings against Sudanese President Al-Bashir for the crime of genocide and for crimes against humanity.  Mr. Bashir has served as the chief executive of the heinous human rights atrocities which have taken place in his own country for the better part of the last decade -- first in Southern Sudan and for the last five years in Darfur.

In initiating these proceedings the International Criminal Court is sending a powerful message to Sudanese leaders and to leaders of terror regimes throughout the world that no one is immune from punishment for perpetrating such egregious actions.  While we are keenly aware of, and share, the concerns expressed by some that this indictment may stall diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, we believe that because the Security Council has the authority to deny on ICC warrants if they believe such warrants would cause additional burden in ending an ongoing political conflict that this is the right course of action.  In this particular case the Security Council has been supportive of the prosecutors work and has taken to heart similar judicial actions against Slobadon Milosevic and Charles Taylor which ultimately led to more stability and in their countries, not less.

As Jews our ancient texts and our recent history teach us that we cannot stand idly by when genocide is taking place.  That is why  our Movement has strongly advocated for policies leading toward a lasting peace in all of Sudan for years and more recently adopted an official policy in support of the work of the ICC to punish the world’s worst transgressors.

We applaud Mr. Moreno-Ocampo’s bold step and hope that this indictment will demonstrate to President al-Bashir and all those leaders who commit genocide that the world community will no longer allow such heinous crimes to take place without consequence."

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the
Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more
 than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership
 includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis



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