International brief ~ UN rights chief Arbour says ICC only credible venue for Sudan trials
International brief ~ UN rights chief Arbour says ICC only credible venue for Sudan trials

[JURIST] In Thursday's international law brief, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile] presented the findings of the International Commission of Inquiry on the Conflict in Darfur [PDF report] to the UN Security Council on Wednesday, stating that the only 'credible way' to address the atrocities was to try those accused of serious human rights abuses before the International Criminal Court [official website]. Both Sudan and the US oppose the use of the ICC. Arbour's report found that the Khartoum government had been seriously complicit in the hiring of Janjaweed militias that were responsible for numerous atrocities in Darfur, but that the Commission could not hold that genocide had occurred because of a lack of evidence of specific intent. UN News Centre has more.

In a related development, Sudanese officials met with Darfur rebel leaders Thursday in Chad to attempt to bring an end to the Darfur conflict, which UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan referred to Wednesday as "hell on earth". The talks were organized by international mediators and the African Union, and were held in the capital N'Djamena. Sudan [government website] has come under increasing international pressure to resolve the Darfur situation, especially in light of the successful negotiations with the newly autonomous South Sudan [official website]. The goal of the talks was stated as reinforcing the oft-violated cease-fire between the two sides, opening up full political negotiations on a permanent truce, and developing means to create an effective check on whether both sides are upholding their end of the deal. Both of the main rebel groups in Darfur, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement [faction website], attended the negotiations, the first time that both major rebel groups and the central government have met together. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage [JURIST Countries archive] of the Sudan crisis. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

In other international legal news …

  • Togo President Faure Gnassingbe [BBC profile] flew to Nigeria Thurday to meet with Nigerian President and current African Union Chairman Olusegun Obasanjo. The meeting is likely to address the practical considerations of how quickly Togo [government website in French] can hold presidential elections and see a new president in office. Togolese officials caved in to immense international pressure [JURIST report] Wednesday, and agreed to hold new elections and restore the country's constitution to its orginal form. Faure was expected to announce the new elections late Wednsday night on national television, but no government announcement of the proposed election has been made. Togolese officials announced that a statement would be released following the conclusion of the closed-door meeting. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage [JURIST Countries archive] of Togo. Republique Togolaise, the official government news website, has local coverage.
  • The Organization of American States [official website] opened the Fifth Annual Session [official website] of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism [official website] in Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday. Acting OAS Secretary-General Luigi R. Einaudi [official profile] called for the body to fulfill its work schedule, which called for recommendations on areas such as border control, money laundering, and cybersecurity. Read the Draft Agenda [DOC]. Read the OAS official press release.