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International Criminal Court Investigations Sudan

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In 2003, "Janjaweed" militias backed by the Sudanese government began a murderous campaign against the African tribes in the Darfur region, which has left thousands of people dead, and at least 1.5 million people displaced from their homes. The rest of the world remained largely inactive to the horrors in Darfur until March 2005, when the UN Security Council, in an unprecedented move, referred the case of Darfur to the ICC. In April 2005, the UN submitted a list of 51 Sudanese suspects to the ICC. The ICC investigation revealed that many high-ranking Sudanese officials were involved in the crimes committed in Darfur. The ICC prosecutor has issued three arrest warrants for the leaders of the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militia, including President Omar al-Bashir. All remain at large. The ICC has also submitted confidential requests for summons to appear for three Darfur rebel commanders, allegedly responsible for attacks on African Union peacekeepers. 

The Sudanese government categorically denies the accusations and vows never to surrender any citizens to The Hague. It questions the ICC's jurisdiction and has proceeded with local justice initiatives, widely perceived to be "show trials" that do little to hold actual perpetrators accountable for the atrocities in Darfur. Many observers and Heads of State in the region question whether the ICC can succeed in the difficult task of establishing peace through justice in the Sudan. The Arab League and the African league asked the Security Council to suspend prosecutions in favor of the ongoing efforts for peace in the Sudan region. These efforts to suspend the ICC activities did not succeed. In July 2009, the African Union announced that it would not cooperate with the ICC in arresting al-Bashir.

The articles and documents below track the developments of the ongoing ICC investigations in Darfur.

Key Documents

Resolution 1593 (March 31, 2005)

In a landmark decision, the Security Council has voted to refer perpetrators of human rights abuse in Sudan's Darfur region to the International Criminal Court (ICC), bringing an end to a long-standing discussion between Council members and overcoming the threat of a US veto. The adoption of Resolution 1593 importantly marks the first time the Security Council has referred a case to the ICC. But critics complain that the decision to exempt "States not Party to the Rome Statute" from compliance creates dangerous double standards, and amounts to no more than a trade-off in return for Washington's vote.

Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the UN Secretary General (January 25, 2005)

This report documents violations of international human rights law committed by "all parties" in the Darfur region of Sudan. It finds that the atrocities do not legally constitute "genocide" but recognizes that such crimes against humanity "may be no less heinous than genocide." The commission recommends the Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.




Visit by Sudan's Bashir Puts Heat on Chad (July 22, 2010)

Violating the international warrant for his arrest, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has travelled to an ICC member state-Chad.  Human rights activists are calling on Chad to live up to its obligations as a member state of the ICC and detain al-Bashir, but officials in Chad say they will treat the Sudanese president "with dignity and with respect."  Chadian Ambassador Bechir says the country is more loyal to the African Union, which passed a resolution encouraging members to not turn over al-Bashir, than they are to the ICC.  The US has criticized Chad for its inaction, but, as the US is not an ICC member, many question the country's commitment to international justice. (NPR)

Surrendered Darfur Rebels to Appear In Court (June 17, 2010)

On August 27, 2009, the International Criminal Court summoned the Sudan rebel leaders Abdallah Banda Abakaer and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus to appear before the Court for alleged war crimes offences. Both are believed to be responsible for the attack against the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in 2007, leaving 12 AMIS soldiers dead. On June 16, 2010, both rebel leaders turned themselves in to the ICC. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is also wanted for alleged war crimes, continues to deny the charges against him. (

ICC Warrant a Pain in the Neck for Bashir (March 28, 2010)

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir recently declared that the International Criminal Court has done him a favour by issuing a warrant for his arrest. Recent developments seem to indicate that Bashir's popularity has increased since the arrest-warrant. The African Union, the League of Arab States, and members of the Islamic Conference have declared that they will not cooperate with the ICC in arresting him. In addition, he received an invitation from Venezuela and is promised a visit by South African President Jacob Zuma. He is also involved in the ongoing peace process with Darfur's largest rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement. This article argues, however, that the arrest-warrant remains an obstacle for Bashir, despite his growing popularity. (Daily Nation)

New Blow for ICC (February 16, 2010)

On 8 February 2010, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled in favor of Sudanese rebel leader, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, by dropping the charges against him. The judges decided that the evidence presented by the prosecutors was insufficient to hold the rebel leader responsible for the war crimes committed against African Union peacekeepers in north Darfur. This ruling is a major setback for the ICC prosecutors. Furthermore, the ruling is likely to have negative implications for the ICC's reputation both inside and outside of Africa. (IWPR)

The Big Question: What would a genocide charge mean for Sudan's leader and his country? (February 4, 2010)

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has unanimously reversed the decision of the ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber not to include the crime of genocide in the arrest warrant against President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan. This means that the Pre-Trial chamber must re-examine whether the arrest warrant, which includes charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, should be extended to cover the crime of genocide. This decision has renewed the possibility of a genocide charge against al-Bashir. Daniel Howden discusses the possible effects of this decision for President al-Bashir and Sudan. (The Independent)

ICC: Peace & Justice (January 13, 2010)

The ICC has had an arrest warrant for Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, outstanding since early  2009. The Court's endeavors to establish justice in a situation where peace efforts are underway is deeply controversial. Peace workers claim that the possibility of prosecution of the Head of State creates dangerous obstacles for their work.  This article supports the ICC's investigation in Sudan, arguing that an alternative decision, to ignore atrocities, would reinforce a culture of impunity and set a precedent for future abuses. (The World Today)


ICC/ Sudan, Statement by Gerard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to UN (December 04, 2009)

As Sudan prepares for its first nationwide multi- party elections in decades, tensions are building across the country. At the same time, the ICC is pursuing its investigation into the violence in Sudan. Many observers suggest that the ICC inquiries heighten tensions and scupper peace plans, and so propose the Security Council suspend the investigation. Here, French Ambassador Gerard Araud insists there is no contradiction between peace and justice - for combating impunity is one of the conditions for lasting peace.

ICC Issues War Crimes Warrant for Sudan's Bashir (March 4, 2009)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir. This is the first time a sitting head of state has been indicted. Bashir faces crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. Leaders from China, the Arab League and the African Union (AU) have opposed this indictment. China fears a leadership change would affect its natural resources deals with the Bashir government. The AU and the Arab League believe the arrest will destabilize the situation in Sudan even further. Bashir is the 11th African suspect indicted by the ICC. No non-African has ever been indicted by the ICC. (Common Dreams)

Judges Approve Warrant for Sudan's President (February 11, 2009)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo requested an arrest warrant in July 2008, but attempts by the P5 to protect their interests in Sudan's natural resources delayed the process. The warrant remains unofficial as the Security Council could block any action by adopting Article 16, which would extend the issue for 12 months. If indicted, Bashir will be the first sitting head of state to be arrested. (New York Times)

China Urges Deferral of Bashir War Crimes Case (January 7, 2009)

China, a big investor in Sudan, calls for the postponement of the indictment of President Bashir of Sudan. The International Criminal Court has yet to decide on the arrest warrant, but China believes that the pending indictment would have "disastrous" effects as it is likely to derail the peace process in the country. (Reuters)


Sudan: What Implications for President Al-Bashir's Indictment by the ICC? (September 25, 2008)

This report by the Institute for Security Studies argues that the ICC has jurisdiction over alleged crimes by citizens of countries that did not sign the ICC's Rome Statute. The ICC and the UN have concluded a 'relationship agreement' committing both parties to respect each other's status and mandate. Although Sudan is not an ICC member and not all UN members have signed the relationship agreement separately, the author still argues that Sudan must accept the ICC's indictment of Sudanese president Al-Bashir.

Sudanese President Accused of Genocide (July 15, 2008)

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Ocampo claims Bashir "masterminded and implemented" a strategy to destroy the three main ethnic groups in Sudan. This New York Times article questions whether the UN Security Council will intervene in the case, following concerns from Russia and China that the arrest warrant will jeopardize future peace talks. Aid workers in Sudan fear the ICC indictment will hinder their work and provoke government retribution against their personnel.

Sudan and the International Criminal Court: A Guide To the Controversy (July 14, 2008)

This openDemocracy article presents an overview of the ongoing debate on the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) blog. Scholars and experts discuss the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir and the implications for the peace process in Sudan. The article analyzes the validity of the ICC prosecutor's legal arguments and highlights the polarized reactions within Sudan, where sentiments range from jubilant celebration to fears that the Sudanese people will suffer from government reprisal.

European Parliament Resolution on Sudan and the International Criminal Court (May 22, 2008)

The European Union condemns Sudan's failure to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Darfur. This EU resolution urges the Sudanese authorities to immediately arrest former militia leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman and former Minister of Interior, Ahmad Harun. The ICC charged both men with 51 counts of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. The text asks the Security Council to take "a principled stance" and insist that Sudan comply with the ICC's requests.


ICC Prosecutor to Open Two New Darfur Cases (December 4, 2007)

The International Criminal Court issued two arrest warrants for Ahamad Haroun and Ali Kushayb for their role in the execution, rapes and forcible evictions of humanitarian workers and peacekeepers in Darfur. Sudan denies that the ICC has jurisdiction to hear the cases. Humanitarian agencies argue that the Security Council needs to insist that Sudan fulfill its obligation to arrest the suspects. Chief ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will address the Security Council on his investigations in Darfur on December 5, 2007. (Reuters)

A Mockery of Justice (October 4, 2007)

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo argues there can be no political or humanitarian solution in Sudan as long as the Sudanese government allows alleged war criminals to go free. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is wary of pressing Khartoum to comply with ICC arrest warrants for fear that the government will renege on UNAMID deployment. However, commentators suggest international pressure is the only way to ensure the government complies with its legal obligation to arrest suspects who are within Sudan's borders. (Harvard Crimson)

Surrender Kosheib (October 3, 2007)

Ali Kosheib, a "Janjaweed" leader from Sudan is released by the Sudanese government for a lack of evidence, despite an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant charging him with crimes against humanity and war crimes. Another ICC suspect, Ahmed Haroun who is charged with a number of war crimes, was appointed by Khartoum as co-chair of the committee that presides over human rights abuses in Darfur. Commentators argue that both cases demonstrate Sudan's disregard for the Security Council resolution that requires cooperation with the Court. (all Africa)

Darfur War Crimes Suspect Leads Sudan Rights Probe (September 5, 2007)

The government of Sudan appointed former State Minister of Interior, and suspected war criminal, Ahmed Haroun as co-chair of the committee that monitors human rights violations in Darfur. This decision sparks outrage as political opponents of the Sudanese government believe this not only disregards human rights, but also the ICC's authority over Mr. Haroun, whom it indicted back in April 2007. A spokesman for the SPLM said: "this is a mockery of justice. It would have been better not to form this commission." (Reuters)

Sudan in Dock over Darfur Fugitives: ICC Prosecutor (August 7, 2007)

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asserts that Khartoum must respect ICC warrants against Sudanese minister Ahmad Harun and Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb and hand them over to the court. Moreno-Ocampo warns that if Sudan fails to respect international law, it risks becoming a "pariah country." Khartoum, ignoring the Security Council's referral to the ICC, argues that Sudan is not an ICC signatory and therefore, has no obligation to follow up on the arrest warrants, and also there is no substantial evidence against the two suspects. (Reuters)

War Crimes Suspect Has Free Rein in Sudan (August 5, 2007)

The ICC indicted Sudanese State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmad Harun and Arab militia leader Ali Mohammad Ali Abdalrahman in May for orchestrating the Darfur war crimes and crimes against humanity. Harun rejects the ICC's arrest warrant against him saying that Sudan, just like the US, is not a signatory to the ICC and has no obligation to obey its rulings. Although the Security Council can intervene by instilling a fear of sanctions, it must remember that it needs the Sudanese government's cooperation to place 26,000 UN peacekeepers in Darfur. (Los Angeles Times)

Darfur: The Evidence of War Crimes (August 2, 2007)

The NGO Waging Peace has submitted strong evidence of the Sudanese violence on Darfur civilians to the ICC. Drawings by children of victim mothers depict the Sudanese army and Arab Janjaweed militia waging attacks on civilians, as well as bombings, mass graves and people dying in puddles of blood. Rebecca Tinsley, Director of Waging Peace, urges the ICC to consider this striking evidence saying, "If this is not evidence, I don't know what is." Meanwhile, Khartoum denies any involvement in the death of 200,000 people over the last four years. (Independent)

Sudan: National Courts Have Done Nothing on Darfur (June 11, 2007)

Human Rights Watch accuses the Special Criminal Court on the Events in Darfur, a Sudanese national court, of being a failure and calls on Khartoum to "hand over suspects indicted by the ICC." In 2006, the national court only tried low-ranking officials charged with minor offences and even granted amnesty to two members of the Sudanese Military Intelligence convicted for murder. A year after issuing 100 warrants, the national court has only executed 10 of them. Sudan claims that it will try all the cases but it has not shown any signs of keeping its promise.

Court Outreach Under Fire (May 24, 2007)

In its efforts to educate Sudanese civilians about the justice process, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is forced to deal with continuing violence in Darfur and misinformation from the Khartoum government. Security threats have pushed outreach programs out of Sudan and into refugee camps in Chad. The hostile Sudanese government uses the local media to paint an evil picture of the ICC accusing it of being part of an invasion plan. Despite the confusion and spread of false information, Hashim Ahmed of Sudan Organization Against Torture believes that the Sudanese people "are in full support of the ICC." (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)

International Court Issues First Darfur Arrest Warrants (May 2, 2007)

The International Criminal Court has issued warrants for the arrest of Sudanese Humanitarian Affairs Minister Ahmed Haroun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd al-Rahman (also known as Ali Kushayb), who both face charges for alleged war crimes in Darfur. Some observers say the judges' choice of international arrest warrants over summonses – which call on suspects to surrender voluntarily – confirms the strength of the evidence against the two men. While ICC prosecutors demand that the Sudanese government fulfill its "legal duty" to capture the suspects, Khartoum continues to rebuff the Court's jurisdiction. (Agence France Presse)

Sudan to Hold Own Darfur Trials (March 8, 2007)

Khartoum has defiantly announced that it will not hand over Sudanese citizens to the International Criminal Court, insisting on Sudan's competence to prosecute Darfur war crimes suspects. But observers denounce the decision as yet another attempt by the Sudanese government to undermine the ICC's authority and to protect high-ranking officials believed to have orchestrated the campaign of violence. (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)

Accountability in Darfur (February 27, 2007)

With regard to the justice and peace process in Sudan's Darfur region, this Institute for War and Peace Reporting article says "the international community's engagement has been heavy on rhetoric, but short on action." However, the author suggests that the International Criminal Court's public allegations against two Darfur war crimes suspects could push influential groups and world leaders into taking tougher measures to stop the conflict. Further, while strengthening the court's position in the global legal system, the ICC proceedings reflect a growing commitment to end impunity for crimes against humanity.

Court Names Darfur War Crimes Suspects (February 27, 2007)

International Criminal Court prosecutors have named the first two individuals they seek to try for some of the worst atrocities in Darfur – Sudan's Humanitarian Affairs Minister Ahmed Haroun and militia leader Ali Mohammed Ali Abd-al-Rahman. Their alleged roles include providing funds and arms used against civilians as well as recruiting militias. Judges must decide whether to issue international arrest warrants for the suspects, a feat that will prove challenging as the Sudanese government continues to reject the ICC's authority. (Guardian)

Sudan and the ICC: A Question of Accountability (January 31, 2007)

This openDemocracy piece analyzes the sometimes conflicting processes of peace and justice, with a particular focus on the case of Sudan. The Sudanese government seeks to use the International Criminal Court as a "bargaining chip" in eventual peace talks to protect high-ranking officials suspected of orchestrating the atrocities in Darfur. The authors argue that until world leaders commit to carrying out punitive measures against the government, Khartoum will continue to wrongly depict the ICC as an obstacle to peace and perpetuate impunity in the country.


International Court Plan Darfur Charges by February (December 13, 2006)

International Criminal Court prosecutors intend to secure arrest warrants for individuals suspected of backing the Janjaweed militias' murderous campaign against African tribes in Darfur by February 2007, reports Reuters. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and his team will likely present, as part of their evidence, a yet-to-be-published UN list of Sudanese suspects – some, reportedly high-ranking officials. Though the ICC has indicted fewer suspects than other international crimes tribunals, Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch says "an arrest warrant by itself sends a powerful signal."

ICC Progress on Darfur Investigations (November 24, 2006)

Against the backdrop of high security risks and the apparent lack of government cooperation, the International Criminal Court has struggled to investigate crimes against humanity in Darfur, Sudan. But ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo says that "his team is close" to initiating proceedings against individuals – as yet unnamed – suspected of "orchestrating" criminal atrocities in the region. The prosecution team will more than likely face strong opposition from the Sudanese government, which set up its own tribunal in June 2005 to avoid ICC indictments. Critics have routinely denounced this court for failing to try high-ranking officials for their part in the war crimes. (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)

No Justice for Darfur in Local Courts (June 8, 2006)

Human rights groups question the competency of Sudan's Special Criminal Court on the Events in Darfur (SCCED), charging that the Khartoum government created the SCCED to counteract the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC). A Human Rights Watch official says that the SCCED has made "no real effort on the ground" to effectively prosecute those guilty of war crimes and atrocities committed in Darfur. Under the Rome Statute, the ICC cannot indict suspects that the national court can capably put on trial. (Inter Press Service)

If not Peace, then Justice (April 2, 2006)

This New York Times piece provides detailed insight into the conflict in Darfur and the efforts of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring perpetrators to justice. The ICC faces many challenges including opposition from the Sudanese government and difficulty in gathering physical evidence. The Sudanese government established the Darfur Special Criminal Court (DSCC) to pre-empt the ICC, but the DSCC has heard only six cases and prosecution lawyers express frustration at lack of progress. The ICC's work therefore remains "crucial" to increase pressure for peace and "deliver some justice."

Sudan Unable to Try Darfur Suspects – UN Official (March 6, 2006)

Sudan's Special Court for Darfur has not been able to try officials accused of war crimes. Sudan established the court after blocking the International Criminal Court (ICC) from investigating in Darfur. To date, the court has not tried any persons for their actions during the Darfur conflict. (Reuters)

The International Criminal Court: A Ray of Hope for the Women of Darfur? (February 9, 2006)

It is virtually impossible for Darfur women to seek justice for rape and sexual crimes under Sudanese law and through the government influenced judiciary. The International Criminal Court (ICC) offers new hope. Under the Rome Statute can try individuals for crimes such as rape as crimes against humanity when committed as part of widespread attack towards a civilian population. (Pambazuka)


Sudan's Special Court on Darfur Crimes Not Satisfactory, UN Genocide Expert Says (December 16, 2005)

The Sudanese government continues to refuse to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC), instructed by the Security Council to investigate the Darfur situation. UN Expert Juan Mendez stresses that the Sudanese government is not making good on its promise to hold human rights violators accountable, doing nothing about major crimes that have occurred. Mendez states that the Sudanese government's own ‘special court,' has produced disappointing results. (UN News )

Sudan Reiterates Opposition to Try Darfur Suspects Before ICC (October 18, 2005)

The Sudanese government maintains its opposition to the ICC investigations in the Darfur region of Sudan. Khartoum officials describe the country's judiciary as "capable, self-reliant and impartial" and insist that, under the mandate of the Rome Statute, the ICC is therefore an unnecessary presence in the country. UN and ICC officials disagree, pointing out that in relation to Darfur, Sudan's judiciary has only tried cases of looting and robbery, seemingly ignoring war crimes and human rights violations. (Sudan Tribune)

Show Trials are Not Substitutes for International Criminal Courts (August 23, 2005)

Some experts in Uganda, Rwanda and East Timor have argued in favor of using local justice initiatives, rather than the International Criminal Court (ICC). On the other hand, the Damanga Coalition, made up of members of the Sudanese exile community, argue that the ICC is imperative in bringing justice to the perpetrators of the Darfur atrocities. (Sudan Tribune)

The Hague Takes On the Sudanese Blood Bath (August 22, 2005)

If the individuals working at the International Criminal Court (ICC) succeed in bringing peace and justice to Darfur, they have an unprecedented opportunity to cement the legitimacy of the world body. The German publication Der Spiegel explores this opportunity, as well as the history and potential future of the ICC, through interviews with the key players in charge of various aspects of the Darfur investigation.

Sudan Rejects ICC Extradition Calls (June 29, 2005)

The ICC's continued calls on Khartoum to collaborate appear fruitless. Following the ICC report to the UN Security Council outlining plans to pursue war crimes suspects, Sudanese officials reaffirmed their refusal to collaborate with the International Court, insisting that the government was conducting transparent trials. (Guardian)

Report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to the Security Council (June 29, 2005)

In an address to the UN Security Council, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno Ocampo outlined the progress of ICC investigations in Sudan, and stated that experts have found a "significant amount of credible information disclosing the commission of grave crimes" in Darfur. Despite objections from Khartoum, Ocampo announced that ICC proceedings would indeed be "admissible" and "complementary" to national trials, and urged all states in the region to cooperate with the court. (United Nations)

Bringing Justice to Darfur (June 20, 2005)

Khartoum continues to challenge the International Criminal Court(ICC) claim to jurisdiction in the Darfur case – holding that its national courts are "willing" and "able" to conduct fair trials. Observers are skeptical about the government's intentions, arguing that such a belated interest in bringing justice may simply be a ploy to avoid international scrutiny. This Find Law article judges that tolerating obstructions to ICC investigations and challenges to the Security Council's authority would permanently damage the Court's credibility and threaten the future of international justice.

Sudan: Judiciary Challenges ICC over Darfur Cases (June 24, 2005)

UN officials recommend that the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Khartoum's judicial system work side by side in indicting war criminals. The Sudanese prosecution has not indicted any high-ranking officers - a measure the ICC is likely to undertake if its hearings proceed - and refuses to collaborate with the international body. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)

Sudan: National Court for Crimes in Darfur Lacks Credibility (June 13, 2005)

The ICC cannot try individuals prosecuted in credible and fair national courts, but Sudan's justice system is anything but satisfactory. Amnesty International insists that unless Khartoum carries out serious legal changes, its national court set up to try alleged war criminals is "doomed to failure." Sudanese officials continue to refuse to hand over the country's citizens, hampering ICC proceedings.

Court Probes Sudan 'War Crimes' (June 6, 2005)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched an investigation on war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region after the US – a long-time antagonist of the ICC – stopped threatening to block Security Council referral to the Court. This is the first time the Security Council refers a case to the ICC, and the first time the Court uses its right to work on a case where "a host state is thought unwilling or unable to do so." Although the US has somewhat backed down, the ICC may face vigorous opposition from the Sudanese government. (BBC)

Sudan Poses First Big Trial for World Criminal Court (April 29, 2005)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) "faces high expectations but lacks practical experience" as it begins its investigation into Darfur's human rights atrocities. New York Times reports that the ICC is under pressure to act quickly, but Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo must first overcome the Sudanese government's active opposition in order to collect evidence that will stand up in court. How the case proceeds "could make or break the institution."

Darfur and the International Criminal Court (April 29, 2005)

This commentary from Middle East Report Online examines the consequences of Sudan's referral to the International Criminal Court. The author criticizes the UN Commission of Inquiry's January 2005 report for creating unnecessary ambiguity over the nature of crimes committed and finds the "initial sighs of relief" at Resolution 1593's passage "grimly ironic." He warns that once the ICC issues its indictments, violence towards foreign aid workers will likely escalate as Sudanese government officials may feel that they have nothing to lose.

International War Crimes Prosecutor Gets List of 51 Sudan Suspects (April 6, 2005)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan handed over a list of 51 suspects accused of large scale war crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court's Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. A UN commission compiled a report in January 2005 and allegedly includes the names of senior Sudanese government officials. The Hague has also taken possession of thousands of commission files to use in its investigation before issuing indictments and arrest warrants. The Sudanese government has vowed it will not cooperate with the international court. (New York Times)

Sudan: Double Standards in International Criminal Justice (April 2, 2005)

The UN Security Council has granted immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to Sudan peacekeepers from States not party to the ICC's Rome Statute. The measure was taken to prevent a US veto on the Sudan referral to the International Criminal Court, and has sparked much criticism among observers. The International Progress Organization argues that the Security Council cannot arbitrarily defer prosecution, and accuses it of damaging UN credibility by playing "power politics."

Historic Step Toward Justice; Further Protection Measures Needed (March 31, 2005)

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution that refers Sudan to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for massive human rights atrocities. The historic vote marked the first such time that the Council has referred a non-ICC party to the court. But the French-proposed resolution pandered to US hostility, by allowing citizens from countries that are not party to the ICC to avoid prosecution in relation to the Darfur crimes. Human Rights Watch finds this exemption "offensive" and vows that "it sets no precedent for the future."

France Asking UN to Refer Darfur to ICC (March 24, 2005)

The UN Security Council will vote on a French-proposed resolution to refer Sudan's war crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The resolution needs nine votes to pass, and France remains confident it can secure at least eleven. The US must now decide between allowing the ICC referral to go ahead after relentlessly campaigning against it, or casting a "politically damaging" veto. (World Bank)

France Pushes for UN Vote on Sudan; US May Veto (March 24, 2005)

France tries to reconcile polarized positions of Security Council members on whether to refer perpetrators of atrocities in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by offering the Council an alternative draft resolution. To avoid a US veto, the proposal presses for the referral to the ICC yet exempts "non-parties to the Rome Statute." The French initiative follows a US draft which split one resolution on Sudan into three separate ones in hopes of sending a UN peacekeeping force to the country and imposing sanctions on Khartoum, but voting separately on bringing war criminals before the ICC. (AlterNet)

Trying Times in Darfur and the Establishment of International Criminal Law (March 4, 2005)

Power and Interest News Report asserts that Security Council debate over the International Criminal Court's (ICC) role in Sudan has more to do with establishing an international legal precedent than ending Darfur's conflict. In particular, the outcome could set a standard for US compliance (or non-compliance) with international law. This article speculates that Russia and China may even support ICC jurisdiction for Darfur solely to weaken the US' superpower status.

Darfur, War Crimes, the International Criminal Court, and the Quest for Justice (February 25, 2005)

The Brookings Institution's first Judicial Issues Forum for 2005 focused on the "judicial miasma" of prosecuting Darfur's war crimes. The discussion turned into a frank debate between international law experts, the US Ambassador for War Crimes Issues and representatives from human rights organizations on the merits of the International Criminal Court, with a clear majority in support of Security Council referral for Sudan.

Darfur: Washington Battles Against International Justice (February 17, 2005)

Non-governmental organizations have slammed Britain's proposal to give American citizens immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC). In exchange, the US would abstain from the UN Security Council vote on whether to refer Sudan to the ICC. But Washington's opposition to the court remains too intense to accept compromise. (Le Monde)

A Losing Strategy on War Crimes (February 12, 2005)

This International Herald Tribune article questions the legality of a UN commission's recommendation that the Security Council refer Darfur's war criminals to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The author finds it "staggering" that the commission failed to recognize the ICC's lack of jurisdiction over Sudan, and believes the commission "took liberties" with rules for Security Council referral. She condemns the US and UN as "equally ineffectual" when it comes to justice for Sudan.

Why Should We Shield the Killers? (February 2, 2005)

Nicholas Kristof condemns Washington's obstinate opposition to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Despite a UN commission's recommendation that the Security Council refer Darfur's war criminals to the ICC, the US would rather establish an ad hoc tribunal for Sudan which "could take another year and 120,000 more deaths" before prosecutions begin. Kristof hopes that if the other Security Council members stand firm on the issue, the US might abstain from the vote rather than exercise its veto. (New York Times)

Darfur: Never Again? (January 26, 2005)

This article criticizes the protracted deliberation over how to qualify the situation in Darfur. The US has labeled the atrocities as genocide, which requires states to take immediate action under the Genocide Convention. Yet Washington continues to oppose Sudan's referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC), preferring instead to establish another ad hoc war crimes tribunal. The "moment of truth" for justice in Sudan will come with the Security Council debate on the topic, for which the Independent urges Britain to stay strong in its support of the ICC.

No Justice for Sudan (January 10, 2005)

Sudan's historic Naivasha peace agreement does not end impunity for the perpetrators of human rights atrocities; an omission this Guardian article describes as "a key failure." In response, the author urges the Security Council-authorized commission of inquiry to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court so that persons responsible for the war crimes do not go unpunished.

Grave Crimes: Darfur and the International Criminal Court (January 2005)

This World Today article argues that the Security Council should refer Sudan to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution of war crimes. There is, however, the possibility that the US could use its veto to obstruct such action on account of its opposition to the court. The author speculates that the US might campaign for a more expensive and time consuming ad hoc or hybrid tribunal, but is adamant that the ICC remains Sudan's best option.


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