(JTA) — The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum praised the International Criminal Court for including genocide charges against Sudan’s president.
The ICC on Monday issued a new arrest warrant, including three counts of genocide, against Omar Al Bashir.
The museum issued a statement Tuesday calling the ICC’s decision “an important step towards holding leaders accountable for such egregious crimes.” This is the first time the court has accused a sitting head of state of genocide.
An arrest warrant for Bashir issued in March 2009 included five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes, but the ICC’s pre-trial chamber rejected the application to include charges of genocide. The appeals chamber later overturned the ruling, and the pre-trial chamber decided Monday to include three counts of genocide against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups.
The museum, which has been monitoring and raising awareness about Sudan since 2000, cautioned that the Sudanese government might retaliate against innocent civilians in response to Monday’s decision, and said the United States and international governments must ensure this does not happen.
The museum partnered with Google Earth to create Crisis in Darfur and World is Witness in 2007. The programs enable users to visualize and better understand the civil war and humanitarian situation in Darfur.