Scholars of Genocide Calling on President Barack Obama to Provide Omar al Bashir with a Visa to Travel to the United States and Arrest Him

Petition Calling on President Barack Obama, Secretary State of John Kerry, and Members of Congress, to Provide Sudanese President Omar al Bashir with a Visa to Travel to the United States, and to Arrest Him Upon His Arrival and Deliver Him to the International Criminal Court

September 25, 2013

To: President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Members of Congress

From: Scholars of Genocide Across the Globe

September 26, 2013 (SSNA) — We, scholars of genocide across the globe, call on the United States Government to provide Sudanese President Omar al Bashir a visa to fly to the United States and then upon his arrival to immediately arrest him and deliver him to the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he is wanted on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for atrocities allegedly perpetrated in Darfur, Sudan.

The arrest of al Bashir is the right thing to do, and that is true for at least three major reasons: first, it was the United States Government, out of all the governments in the world, that declared, on September 9, 2004, that Sudan had perpetrated genocide in Darfur; second, under Article I of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, those nations that ratify the UNCG (as the United States did in 1988 during Ronald Reagan’s presidency) “…confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish”; and third, on September 18, 2013, the International Criminal Court, itself, called on the United States to arrest al Bashir so that he can stand trial at the ICC.

We appreciate that the United States Government believes it faces a series of quandaries in regard to the issue of arresting al Bashir: first, as the host of the United Nations, the U.S. is expected to allow leaders of sovereign nations to land on its territory and then proceed, untouched and hassle free, to the UN; second, the U.S. is not a signatory of the Rome Statute that established the ICC; and third, in the past the U.S. has allowed a host of undesirables touch down on U.S. territory and proceed apace to the UN, including but not limited to: Castro, Gaddafi, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad.

Our respectful responses to the aforementioned concerns are as follows: First, the crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity are so grievous that this unusual situation calls for a precedent, and that is the arrest of al Bashir, even though he is landing on U.S. soil for the express purpose of attending the UN General Assembly. Second, despite the fact that other actors of questionable character who carried out questionable, if not despicable actions, were allowed to visit the UN without incident, by arresting al Bashir and transporting him to the ICC, the United States will be honoring the promise it made when it ratified the UNCG   — that is, it would be contribute to holding alleged genocidaires responsible for their actions. Granted, a trial has to be held to make the determination whether al Bashir is, in fact, guilty of genocide, but the only way that determination can be made and punishment meted out, if he is in fact found guilty, is for a trial to take place.

Year after year, presidents of our nation take part in the commemoration of the Holocaust, and in doing so, they, invariably, make the promise of “Never Again.” One way of attempting to prevent future genocides is for the world to send an unambiguous and strong message that alleged genocidaires will be arrested and tried for their alleged crimes. Period. That, and only that, is the way to halt the impunity that so many genocidaires count on.

Furthermore, we urge you President Obama to honor the words you spoke just a year and a half ago at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum during the commemoration of the Holocaust: “With the arrest of fugitives like Ratko Mladic, charged with ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, the world sent a message to war criminals everywhere:  We will not relent in bringing you to justice.  Be on notice.” Likewise, we hope both, you, Secretary of State Kerry, and you, Members of Congress will support the president as he honors that promise cum threat.

If the United States Government allows al Bashir to land on U.S. soil, no matter that his plan is to attend the UN General Assembly, it will be a stain on our national conscious that will never, ever be erased.

In conclusion, we petition you in the hope that the United States will stand up and do the right thing and end the impunity that Omar al Bashir has enjoyed ever since his indictment by the ICC.


Dr. Samuel Totten
Professor Emeritus
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Author of Genocide by Attrition: Nuba Mountains, Sudan (Transaction Publishers, 2013)
Dr. Mukesh Kapila
Former UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator
Geneva, Switzerland
Author of A Tide Against Evil: How One Man Became the Whistleblower to the First Mass Murder of the Twenty-First Century (2013)
Dr. Michael Barnett
University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science
Elliot School of International Affairs
George Washington University
Washington, D.C.
Co-Author of Humanitarianism Contested: Where Angels Fear to Tread (Routledge, 2011)
Professor Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA
Author of Compromising with Evil: An Archival History of Greater Sudan (2012)
Dr. Victoria Sanford
Center for Human Rights & Peace Studies
Professor of Anthropology
Lehman College & the Graduate Center City University of New York
Author of Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala (2003)
Dr. Gerry Caplan
Independent Scholar
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Author of Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide (Organization of African’s Unity’s International Panel of Eminent Personalities to Investigate the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, 2000)
Dr. Israel W. Charny
Founder and Director, Genocide Prevention Network
Jerusalem, Israel
Chief Editor of Encyclopedia of Genocide
Dr. Dominik J. Schaller
Research Fellow
Karman Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, and University of Bern
Lecturer, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg
Heidelberg, Germany
Author of Late Ottoman Genocides: The Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and Young Turkish Population and Extermination Policies (Routledge, 2010)
Dr. Eric D. Weitz
Dean of Humanities and Arts and Professor of History
The City College of New York
Professor Taner Akçam
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, History Department at Clark University
Worcester, MA
Author of  Young Turks’s Crimes Against Humanity, The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire
Dr. Ervin Staub
Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Founding Director,
Ph.D. program in the Psychology of Peace and Violence
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Author of The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence (Cambridge University Press, 1989) and Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict and Terrorism (Oxford University Press, 2011)
Dr. Colin Tatz
School of Politics and International Relations
Australian National University
Canberra, ACT, Australia
Author of With Intent to Destroy: Reflecting on Genocide (Verso, 2003)
Dr. Maureen S. Hiebert
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Senior Fellow, Centre for Military and Strategic Studies
University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Rebecca Tinsley
Founder, Waging Peace
London, England
Author of When the Starts Fall to Earth (Crockett, TX, Landmarc Press, 2011)
Dr. Robert K. Hitchcock
Department of Anthropology
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
Co-editor of Genocide of Indigenous Peoples (Transaction Publishers, 2011)
Dr. Henry Theriault
Professor and Chair of Philosophy
Worcester State College
Worcester, MA
Author of "Denial of Ongoing Atrocities as a Rationale for Not Attempting to Prevent or Intervene” (Transaction Publishers, 2012) 
Professor Philip Spencer
Director of the Helen Bamber Centre for the Study of Rights, Conflict and Mass Violence
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Kingston University
Surrey, England
Author of Genocide since 1945 (Routledge, 2012)
Dr. Adam Jones
Professor of Political Science
University of British Columbia
Kelowna, British Columbia
Author of The Scourge of Genocide: Essays and Reflections (Routledge, 2013)
Dr. Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe
Universidade de Fortaleza, Brazil
Readings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, and Literature (African Renaissance, 2011)
Dr. Roger W. Smith
Professor Emeritus of Government
College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Virginia
Author of "Scarcity and Genocide" (in On the Edge of Scarcity: Environment, Resources, Population, Sustainability, and Conflict (Syracuse University Press, 2002)
Dr. Elisa von Joeden-Forgey
Visiting Scholar
Department of History
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Author of “The Devil in the Details: ‘Life Force Atrocities’ and the Assault on the Family in Times of Conflict” (2010)
Dr. Paul Slovic
Professor of Psychology
University of Oregon, Eugene
Author of “Psychic Numbing and Mass Atrocity” (in The Behavioral Foundations of Public Policy, Princeton University Press, 2013)
Dr. Deborah Mayersen
University of Wollongong
New South Wales
Author of On the Path to Genocide: Armenia and Rwanda Re-examined (Berghahn Books, 2014)
Dr. Herb Hirsch
Professor of Political Science and Co-editor of Genocide Studies International
L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, VA
Dr. Robert Skloot
Professor Emeritus
Department of Drama
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Author of If The Whole Body Dies: Raphael Lemkin and the Treat Against Genocide (Parallel Press, 2006)
Uriel Levy
Combat Genocide Association
Tel Aviv, Israel
Dr. John K. Roth
Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
Claremont McKenna College,
Claremont, California
Editor of Rape: Weapon of War and Genocide (Paragon House, 2012)
Dr. Rick Halperin
Professor and Director
Embrey Human Rights Center
Southern Methodist University
Dallas, Texas
Dr. Ernesto Verdeja
Assistant Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies
University of Notre Dame
South Bend, Indiana
Author of Unchopping a Tree: Reconciliation in the Aftermath of Political Violence (2009)
Michael Minch, Ph.D.
Director, Peace and Justice Studies
Professor of Philosophy
Philosophy and Humanities Department
Utah Valley University
Orem, Utah
Dr. Linda M. Woolf
Professor, Psychology and International Human Rights
Webster University
St. Louis, Missouri
Dr. Rouben Adalian
Armenian National Institute
Washington, D.C.
Author of Guide to the Armenian Genocide in the U.S. Archives, 1915-1918 (Chadwyck-Healey, Inc., 1994)
Dr. Alan L. Berger
Raddock Family Eminent Scholar Chair of Holocaust Studies
Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, FL
Dr. Kjell Anderson
Senior Researcher,
The Hague Institute for Global Justice
The Hague, The Netherlands
Dr. Alex Alvarez 
Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, Arizona
Author of Governments, Citizens, and Genocide (Indiana University Press, 2001), and Genocidal Crimes (Taylor and Francis, 2009)
Dr. Victor Peskin
Associate Professor
School of Politics and Global Studies
Arizona State University
Author of International Justice in Rwanda and the Balkans: Virtual Trials and the Struggle for State Cooperation
Dr. Jamie L. Wraight
Curator and Historian
The Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive
The University of Michigan-Dearborn
Dearborn, MI
Dr Dennis R Papazian
Prof Emeritus 
Univ of Michigan Dearborn 
Dr. John H. Weiss
Associate Professor of History
Cornell University (and Darfur Action Group-Cornell)
Ithaca, New York
Dr. Alejandro Baer
Associate Professor of Sociology
Director and Stephen C. Feinstein Chair
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN
Dr. Gagik Aroutiunian
Associate Professor,
Department of Art, Media & Design,
DePaul University, Chicago IL
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