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The Situation in Darfur and Sudan

Location: Washington DC


Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to discuss the situation in Darfur, Sudan. I have come to the floor many times before to discuss this horrible crisis. I do so again today.

My colleague Senator Biden and I have introduced a bill, which I will describe in detail in a few minutes. Significant, I think, within the past hour was a very graphic video and audio description of the situation in Darfur, as it appeared on CNN. I commend it to any colleagues who may have the opportunity to see it, or who can even get a transcript of that show. It is a 3- or 4-minute piece. It clearly demonstrated in the most stark terms that the tragedy of Darfur continues to unfold. We saw little children who were in danger of dying. Some may be dying. They described one man who had been injured-shot within the last week by the militias who came in. So despite the pledges of the Sudanese Government that they will stop the militias from carrying out this genocide, in fact, as we meet here today, it continues.

There has been a discussion about whether genocide is in fact occurring. Some have argued this is not genocide. So as I describe what is in the bill Senator Biden and I have introduced today, I want to describe for my colleagues what, under the law, it takes for genocide to occur, what the convention says, and what the facts are.

I am on the floor tonight to discuss whether what is happening in the Darfur region of Sudan is in fact genocide. I believe it is genocide, although for some reason there seems to be some confusion about what that term, in fact, means and what responsibilities come with that once it is determined that genocide is taking place.

I have been using the term "genocide" to describe what has been happening in the Darfur region of Sudan since May, and I think it is time, frankly, that this body, as a whole, and the world, more importantly, begins to do the same. That is why Senator Biden and I have introduced a bill that refers to what is happening, in fact, as genocide.

I thank my colleague, Senator Biden, for his leadership on this issue. He, too, has been calling this genocide since the beginning, and we hope our colleagues will join us and rightly identify the atrocities in Darfur as, in fact, genocide.

Our bill will also prevent any normalization of relations between the U.S. Government and the Sudanese Government unless and until the President of the United States can certify that the Government of Sudan is taking significant and demonstrable steps to stop the militias and allow humanitarian aid to flow.

The bill we have introduced today will allow us to place sanctions on Sudan contingent on improvements in Darfur. Simply put, this bill will use every weapon in our diplomatic arsenal to attack this problem, and, frankly, that is exactly what is needed.

Only when the Government of Sudan satisfies the requirements laid out in this bill-and we have set a high but, frankly, reasonable hurdle-would the Government of Sudan then be eligible for any U.S. assistance.

The bill will authorize $800 million in support of the north-south peace process, but that money will not be available until and unless the Government of Sudan complies with the terms of the bill. But separate and apart from that money, the bill will authorize an additional $200 million for humanitarian assistance for Darfur, obviously not going through the Government of Sudan.

Let me reiterate. The $800 million that we would authorize in support of the north-south peace process would only be available if and when the genocide has stopped, the atrocities have stopped, the humanitarian situation has improved, and the President of the United States is confident and willing to certify to Congress that the Government of Sudan is protecting its people.

It is my hope that this bill will be passed before the summer recess so the pressure on the Government of Sudan begins immediately and does not stop until that Government complies.

I want to return to the larger issue of whether what is taking place in Sudan now is, in fact, genocide because there does seem to be a lot of confusion about this issue. There should not be any confusion about it because what is taking place in Sudan today clearly is genocide.

The definition of "genocide" can be found in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide which entered into force originally in 1951. Specifically, article 2 states that genocide is any one of five acts which is committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.

Let me repeat that. Specifically, article 2 states that genocide is any one of five acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.

Here are the five acts, any one of which will qualify for genocide.

First is the act of killing members of the group. There is no doubt that the militias in Darfur, aided by the Government of Sudan, have been killing the Black Africans of Darfur. Their scorched Earth campaign has left 30,000 dead-men, women, children. These people were killed because they were Black, while their Arab neighbors went untouched. That is the fact. Even when the people fled, the militias chased them into Chad trying to finish the job. Under this qualification alone, what is happening should be classified as "genocide."

The second group of actions that constitute genocide under the Convention is causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group. The militias have used rape as a weapon, killed children in front of the parents, killed parents in front of the children, made husbands stand by while their wives are raped and killed, and have done all of this because their victims are Black.

An Amnesty International report stated:

The long-term effects of these crimes can be seen in countries like Rwanda where many women and children remain traumatized.

In the same way, the people of Darfur will remain traumatized for years to come, and this is what the militias want. The militias want to make sure that the Black Africans they do not kill are broken by the atrocities they have witnessed and suffered through.

Let me turn to the third measure. The third way to commit genocide is to deliberately inflict on a group conditions of life calculated to bring about a group's physical destruction in whole or in part. The numbers in Darfur are appalling and clearly makes a case that this provision is satisfied. Over 1 million people-1 million people-have been driven from their homes, over 400 villages have been destroyed, wells have been poisoned, crops have been destroyed, and granaries and herds have been looted. The militias and Government have done everything possible to ensure that the Black Africans of Darfur cannot survive even if they escape the initial killings. There is nothing left for them. Their herds are gone. Their crops are gone. What is worse is the Government militias are also now blocking humanitarian aid.

These tactics, in the face of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, can be for no other purpose than to ensure that those who escape the killing now die along the way or die in camps.

The militias have turned the camps into prisons, killing those who leave in search of firewood and food. This campaign is, obviously, not just about driving these people off the land; it is about destroying the Black African groups, and that, I say to my colleagues, is what is genocide. That is genocide.

The final two acts that qualify as genocide are imposing measures intended to prevent births within a group and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. We have reports that children have been abducted and that women are being raped by Arab men to "make a light baby."

In these societies, a child adopts the father's ethnic background, and by raping all of these women with the purpose of making lighter children, they are effectively meeting the fourth and fifth criteria for genocide in the Convention.

Specifically on the fifth criteria for genocide, forcibly transferring children from one group to another group, I want to share with my colleagues in the Senate the story of a woman named Mecca. She was killed by the militias when she tried to stop them from taking her 3-year-old son. I am sure there are countless others who were killed trying to save their children, as any parent would. For these parents, for the children who have been abducted, for the girls and women who have been raped, for the people dying right now, I ask this body, I plead with this body to support using the term "genocide" because that is what it is.

Although we can make a case that all five of these provisions have been met, the Convention is very specific. The Convention states that any one of these actions constitutes genocide. The fact that we have evidence to support all five qualifying categories only makes the decision to call this genocide that much easier.

The question remains, though, if we call it genocide, what does that mean? What is the significance? Maybe when we know the answer, that will tell us why sometimes some people in the international community may be a little reluctant to call it genocide. The answer to the question once again is right in the convention, both in its title and in its articles. The document is called the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It is called that for a good reason.

We need to make sure that the crimes being committed in Darfur are both prevented and punished. To prevent these crimes, the Government of Sudan and the militias need to be forced to end their reign of terror. We have tried to use diplomatic pressure to get them to start. The U.N. Secretary General and our own Secretary of State Colin Powell both went to the region to plead with the Government to stop the atrocities. The U.N. even submitted a draft U.N. Security Council resolution including targeted sanctions on the militias and an option for sanctions on the Sudanese Government if they did not keep their promises to rein in the militias. All of this, and yet, as Secretary Powell has said, the Government of Sudan is still not keeping their promises. The atrocities continue. That means to prevent genocide, we will need more than promises and high-level visits.

Quite frankly and bluntly, we need troops on the ground. The African Union is going to send 300 peacekeepers, but we all know that is not enough for a region that is the size of Texas. We need more countries to commit troops, and we, the U.S. Government, need to be prepared to fund and assist these troops in reaching the region and protecting the civilian population of Darfur.

The second major responsibility we have under the convention is to ensure that the crime of genocide is punished. The Government of Sudan must try those individuals suspected of committing these atrocities, and if they are found guilty, they must punish them. This includes vetting the ranks of the military to ensure that no further militia members find refuge there. It also means not just rounding up a few low-level members of the militias and punishing them. That is not enough.

In addition, the international community will not accept show trials and, if necessary, an international tribunal should be convened to ensure that justice is served in Darfur.

Justice also must be blind to the position held by those responsible for genocide. If any public officials in Sudan are guilty of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, an attempt to commit genocide, or complicity in genocide, they must be held just as accountable as the militia members themselves.

It does no one any good to wait until after the fact to call this genocide. Let's not wait 6 months. Let's not wait a year. Let's not wait 5 years. That is what happened in Rwanda. We cannot afford to let that mistake happen again. That is why I have been calling this genocide, because it is. We must call this genocide.

I urge my colleagues to join Senator Biden and myself in calling this genocide. I urge my colleagues to speak out. My colleagues, Senator McCain, Senator Brownback, and others, have been on the floor of the Senate speaking about this issue. Senator Biden and I have a bill. I urge my colleagues to come forward and cosponsor and help us pass this bill. I also urge my colleagues to come forward and help us pass Senator Brownback's resolution condemning this as well. This is something that needs to be done. This Senate needs to speak out. This country needs to take action. The international community needs to take action.

I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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