ICC prosecutor seeks UN support for arrest of suspected Sudan war criminals

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Friday called on the UN Security Council [official website] to support the arrest [statement, PDF; press release] of two Sudanese men indicted for war crimes. The suspects, Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb [Trial Watch profiles; case materials], are wanted for crimes related to the ongoing violence in the Darfur [JURIST news archive] region of Sudan. Ocampo urged the Security Council to secure the execution of the outstanding arrest warrants in light of the fact that the Sudanese government, which bears the primary responsibility to do so, has not. Ocampo informed the Security Council that violence in the Sudan continues, despite the signing of a peace agreement earlier this year. He blamed this on a sense of impunity that has been perpetuated by the continued freedom of ICC suspects, including Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [ICC materials, PDF], who was indicted by the ICC [JURIST report] in 2009. Ocampo called on the Security Council to include the arrest of Harun and Kushayb as part of its comprehensive strategy for achieving peace in Sudan, which the body is expected to discuss Monday.

The ICC issued arrest warrants [JURIST report] for Harun and Kushayb in 2007 on 51 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Kushayb was apprehended and held pending trial, but he appealed [JURIST reports] and was released by the Sudanese government later that year when the government announced that the ICC did not have jurisdiction over Sudanese citizens. Last month, Ocampo referred Sudan to the Security Council [JURIST report] for lack of cooperation in the pursuit of Harun and Kushayb. ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I released a decision [text, PDF] asking the Security Council to take any steps it deems appropriate to compel Sudan to comply with its obligation under Security Council Resolution 1593 [text, PDF], which provides that "the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur shall cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution.'' Since the ICC concluded that it has exhausted all its resources, the responsibility will now be shifted to the Security Council to take appropriate action. Sudan, which is not a permanent member of the ICC under the Rome Statute [text], refuses to recognize the court's jurisdiction, stating that "the International Criminal Court has no place in this crisis at all."

 

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