Saperstein: “All those who threaten civilian safety in Darfur should be treated as criminals.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 21, 2008 – In response to the International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor’s request for arrest warrants for those who perpetrated last year’s deadly attack on United Nations peacekeeping forces in Darfur, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following response:
We applaud the International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s efforts to bring even-handed justice to Darfur by requesting arrest warrants for the Sudanese rebels who committed last year’s attack on United Nations peacekeeping forces in Darfur. All those who threaten civilian safety in Darfur should be treated as criminals. While the rebels’ actions were not comparable to the atrocities sanctioned by Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, they were nonetheless reprehensible, threatening the lives of already vulnerable civilians.
As Jews, we are intimately acquainted with the horrors of ethnic cleansing and genocide. We must speak out and call for international efforts for protection, peace and justice when other peoples are similarly threatened with annihilation.
For a just peace in Darfur, the international community must cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s efforts to seek justice for the rebel militias responsible for the attack on UN peacekeepers, as well as for President Bashir and members of the Sudanese government and Janjaweed militias. By calling for these warrants, Moreno-Ocampo has set a precedent of accountability for those who perpetrate genocidal activities.
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 1,800 Reform rabbis.