Sudan plans to create domestic courts for war crimes trials

[JURIST] Sudan plans to create its own internationally-monitored courts to try war crimes suspects from the country's Darfur region [JURIST news archive], League of Arab States (LAS) [official website, in Arabic] official Hisham Yussef said on Tuesday. The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] in the Netherlands currently handles such proceedings, but if Sudanese domestic courts are created with appropriate human rights and accountability safeguards, the ICC is required to hand over jurisdiction under Article 16 of the Rome Statute [PDF text]. The announcement is seen largely as a reaction to the controversial effort [JURIST report] to seek an arrest warrant [application, PDF; ICC press release] for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile, JURIST news archive]. Both the LAS and African Union (AU) [official website] have criticized [JURIST report] the warrant and underlying indictment, saying they threaten peace in the unstable country. Reuters has more. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

The LAS released its proposal [press release, in Arabic; JURIST report] for the country to create the courts on Sunday, following an emergency meeting [JURIST report] to mediate the dispute over the ICC's warrant for al-Bashir. The AU also released a resolution [PDF text] Monday calling on the ICC to defer to Sudanese courts once they are legitimized.  The UN Security Council has repeatedly called on Sudan to comply with the investigation of al-Bashir [JURIST report], but Sudan has refused to do so, calling Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] a "terrorist" [JURIST report] and suggesting that he should be removed from office. Before al-Bashir's indictment the Sudanese government had already rejected the ICC's jurisdiction and has refused to surrender two previously-named war crimes suspects [JURIST report].

 

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