ICC prosecutor urges international community to help bring Darfur war crime suspects to justice

ICC prosecutor urges international community to help bring Darfur war crime suspects to justice

The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], Fatou Bensouda [official profile], on Thursday renewed her calls [statement] to the UN Security Council [official website] and the international community to support her office’s efforts in tackling impunity and pursuing justice for human rights violations in the Darfur region of Sudan. Bensouda particularly urged all UN member states, specifically ones that are party to the Rome Statute [text, PDF], to arrest and surrender suspects of alleged genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur. Included among the Darfur suspects are Sudan President Omar Al Bashir [BBC profile], Ahmad Harun, Abdel Raheem Hussein, Ali Kushayb and Abdallah Banda. Noting that there was sufficient evidence provided by witnesses that formed the basis for the issuance of multiple warrants for arrest, Bensouda stated that hopes for attaining justice for victims “has increasingly been replaced by disappointment, frustration and even anger at the slow progress in the Darfur situation. Not one of the suspects for whom warrants have been issued has been arrested and transferred to the International Criminal Court.” Bensouda particularly noted Jordan’s failure to comply with its obligations to arrest and surrender Al Bashir, who traveled there in late March. Renewing her commitment to obtain justice for the victims and their families, Bensouda stated:

Accountability is a pre-requisite for sustainable peace in Darfur. My Office continues to seek this accountability. I ask this Council to fully assume its responsibilities arising from Resolution 1593 [text, PDF] and to support our efforts, in the interests of justice, stability and sustainable peace in Darfur … Lest we forget; the olive branch of peace is barren without the trunk of blind justice.

There has been significant criticism of the Sudan government in connection with the Darfur conflict, and some other countries have created controversy for their failure to comply with international laws in apprehending the suspects of the Darfur crimes. As mentioned above Jordan was noted for its failure to carry out its obligations to arrest and surrender Al Bashir in late March. In April ICC prosecutors called on judges to hold South Africa accountable [JURIST report] for failing to arrest Al Bashir when he visited the country in 2015. Since 2003 the Darfur region has faced civil unrest from conflict between the government and rebel groups. In February, UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, called for [JURIST report] the Sudan government to protect civilian rights in Darfur. In January the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and international sanctions Idriss Jazairy praised [JURIST report] former US president Barack Obama‘s [official website] decision to lift all US sanctions on Sudan. In September Amnesty International [advocacy website] reported that the Sudan government used [JURIST report] chemical weapons on civilians in a region of Darfur between January and September 9 2016