Should presidents wanted for genocide be awarded medals of honor? We don’t think so. That’s why we’re calling on Serbia to reconsider the honor extended to ICC fugitive Omar al-Bashir in February.
Civil society objects to award of Serbian medal
The awarding of the Medal of the Republic of Serbia to al-Bashir was part of a move to honor all African Union heads-of-state refusing to recognize Kosovo.
Al-Bashir has been wanted by the ICC since 2009 for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.
Serbia, as an ICC member state, must cooperate with the ICC investigation in Darfur. By joining the ICC Serbia agreed to uphold the spirit and purpose of the Rome Statute system—to end impunity for grave crimes and bring justice to victims.
In a letter from Coalition Convenor William R. Pace to the Serbian president this April, global civil society said the award insults victims in Darfur and lends credibility to the ICC suspect and should therefore be reconsidered.
“The ICC represents one of the most significant opportunities to address these major and devastating crimes and to contribute to restoration of peace in the region. However, the success of the ICC depends on the strong support of those who brought it into existence: governments. Your government joined the ICC on behalf of the Serbian people – Serbia is now bound to uphold the unequivocal commitments set out in the Rome Statute to bring to justice perpetrators of crimes that shock the conscience of humanity,” said Pace.
However, it seems unlikely that Serbia will rescind the medal anytime soon, with President Nikolic insisting that the honor could not have been avoided as al-Bashir is president of a United Nations member state.
Read the Coalition’s letter to President Nikolic.
Listen to Radio Free Europe’s interview with Coalition Senior Legal Officer Alix Vuillemin Grendel.
Serbia President Criticised for Honouring Wanted Sudan Leader , Balkan Insights
Omar al-Bashir is subject to two outstanding arrest warrants issued by the
ICC in 2009 and 2010 on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, committed in Darfur, Sudan. These arrest warrants resulted from UN Security Council Resolution 1593 (2003), which referred the situation in Darfur to the Court – a situation the Security Council deemed a threat to international peace and security – and urged all UN members to fully cooperate with the ICC. According to United Nations reports, approximately 300,000 people were killed, and over two million people were forced to leave their homes between 2003 and 2008, as part of the government of Sudan’s counter-insurgency campaign in Darfur. The ICC has issued arrest warrants for five individuals in relation to the conflict in Darfur–all five warrants remain outstanding.
Have your say – Do you think Serbia should reconsider the award to al-Bashir?
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