Rabbis press Rice to keep pressure on Bashir


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Nearly 200 rabbis urged Condoleezza Rice to continue to press for the arrest of a Sudanese leader on genocide charges.

The letter to the U.S. secretary of state, sent by the American Jewish World Service and rabbis of all Jewish denominations, points out that the International Criminal Court is seeking an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, but Bashir is trying to defer the court’s investigation through measures in the United Nations Security Council.

"The United States must stand by its stated committment to block any attempt in the Security Council to suspend the ICC proceedings," the letter says. "Without concrete and measurable progress on security, accountability and peace, there can be no justification for any deferral."

The letter states that the "situation on the ground demonstrates that there is no current justification for suspending the court’s investigation" because "over the past five-and-a-half years, the government of Sudan has failed to live up to countless international commitments."

The letter adds: "Pirkei Avot, which describes moral and ethical sayings of the Jewish sages, teaches us: ‘On three things does the world endure: justice, truth, and peace … .’ It is in this spirit that we hope for a lasting peace in Darfur, justice for the perpetrators of this genocide, and a truthful accounting of life in Darfur."

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