Source: unic.org

26 May - The International Criminal Court (ICC) has referred to the Security Council Sudan's failure to cooperate in arresting a former minister and a pro-Government militia chief charged with war crimes in the Darfur conflict, including the murder of civilians and rape.

It is now up to the Council “to take any action it may deem appropriate,” the court said in a news release.

Three years ago, the ICC's pre-trial chamber I issued arrest warrants for former Minister of State for the Interior Ahmad Harun and alleged Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb for the alleged murder of civilians, rape and outrages upon the personal dignity of women and girls, persecution, forcible transfers, imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty, and attacks intentionally directed against civilians.

These crimes against humanity and war crimes were committed during clashes allegedly between the Government, combatants from the Sudan People's Armed Forces, the Popular Defence Force and the Janjaweed, against rebel groups, including the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

Although Sudan is not a State Party to the Rome Statute that set up The Hague-based ICC, it is obliged to “cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor” in accordance with a Security Council resolution adopted in 2005. As a UN Member State, Sudan has agreed “to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council.”

This ICC said the chamber's decision is without prejudice to other decisions or actions it may take in other cases arising from the situation in Darfur. A third arrest warrant was issued in March, 2009, for Sudanese President Omar al Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In another case, the chamber in February declined to confirm war crimes charges against rebel leader Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, due to insufficient evidence, in a 2007 attack that killed 12 peacekeepers serving with the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and wounded eight others.

AMIS was the predecessor to the joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission (UNAMID), which is entrusted with quelling the violence in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have died and another 3 million displaced as a result of fighting that began in 2003 between Government forces, backed by the Janjaweed, and various rebel groups.

The Chamber is examining the prosecutor's application for arrest warrants or summons to appear against two other individuals for war crimes committed during the 2007 attack.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be in Kampala, Uganda, on Monday to convene the first review conference of the ICC.

Accra / Ghana/ Africa / Modernghana.com