Sunday, June 28, 2015

ICC Judges Refer to UNSC Sudan’s Non-cooperation on Case of Ex-defense Minister
June 27, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Pre-Trial Chamber II judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) approved a request by the prosecutor and issued a finding of non-cooperation by Sudan in extraditing former defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein who is now governor of Khartoum.

Hussein was indicted in March 2012 for charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes in connection with the Darfur conflict.

As with the other Sudanese government suspects, Khartoum has refused to cooperate with the Hague-based court despite the Chapter VII UN Security Council (UNSC) 2005 resolution referring the situation in Darfur to the ICC that mandated the cooperation of all warring parties in the western region.

From the government side, president Omer Hassan al-Bashir, North Kordofan governor Ahmad Haroun and Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb have outstanding warrants.

Sudan insists that the ICC has no jurisdiction because it has not ratified the Rome Statute which is the founding treaty of the court.

It has nonetheless cooperated with the court until the first arrest warrant against Kushayb and Haroun were issued in 2007.

In their decision, the judges noted that the warrant against Hussein “had no impact either on his senior position within the Sudanese administration or on his willingness to travel beyond Sudanese borders including on behalf of [President] Omar al Bashir”.

They recalled three instances where Hussein travelled to Chad (ICC member), Central African Republic (ICC member) and South Sudan and that despite requests being made for his arrest he “managed to complete his travel unhindered”.

The judges reiterated that Sudan’s non-cooperation constitutes a failure to comply with resolution 1593 and that the court relies mainly on the states’ cooperation to fulfill its mandate, and that, when the Security Council refers the situation in Darfur to the Court as constituting a threat to the international peace and security, it might be expected that the Council might also consider deciding on a follow-up.

Article 87(7) of the Rome Statute allows the judges to make a [non-cooperation] finding to that effect and refer the matter to the....Security Council".

However, it is unlikely that the UNSC will seek any punitive measures against Sudan owing to probable opposition from China and Russia with large economic and military interests in the East African nation.

There have been numerous non-cooperation findings on Darfur referred by ICC judges in th epast to the UNSC but has yielded no action.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is expected to brief the UNSC next week on the Darfur situation per requirements of resolution 1593 calling for two appearances annually to talk on the case.

Last December, Bensouda announced that she will freeze her office’s Darfur investigations due to lack of UNSC support.

“Given this council’s lack of foresight on what should happen in Darfur, I am left with no choice but to hibernate investigative activities in Darfur as I shift resources to other urgent cases. It should thus be clear to this Council that unless there is a change of attitude and approach to Darfur in the near future, there shall continue to be little or nothing to report to you for the foreseeable future,” the ICC prosecutor said in her previous briefing.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to appear before you and purport to be updating you when all I am doing is repeating the same things I have said over and over again,” she added.

Bashir hailed Bensouda’s decision as a victory for his country and a sign of surrender by the ICC.

“The charges of the court was an attempt to subjugate and humiliate, but it has now lifted up its hands and surrendered,” Bashir said .

“The court is not a failure because the government has refused to cooperate with it, but because the Sudanese people rejected it,” he added.

The United Nations says more than 300,000 people have been killed since the Darfur conflict broke out in 2003, when minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government for a greater share of resources and power.

Sudan puts the death toll at 10,000.


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