#GlobalJusticeWeekly – ICC prosecutor criticizes UN Security Council inaction on Darfur

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda reports to the UN Security Council on the situation in Darfur, Sudan. © UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda reports to the UN Security Council on the situation in Darfur, Sudan. © UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda this week criticized the UN Security Council for failing to ensure the arrest of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and others allegedly responsible for atrocities in Darfur. During a report to the Council on the Darfur situation Bensouda said “the reality is that the ICC’s judicial process cannot take place without arrests. Darfur suspects remain at large and no meaningful steps have been taken to apprehend them and bring them to justice.”

In the past, the Coalition has urged the Security Council to enforce its referral of the situation in Darfur to the Court and do more to facilitate the arrest of ICC suspects.

Bensouda also appealed to the UN to investigate allegations that reports of the joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur were manipulated to hide crimes allegedly committed by the Sudanese government against civilians and peacekeepers in the region.

Watch the prosecutor’s statement to the Security Council



Central African Republic

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) welcomed the CAR referral of its recent crisis to the ICC (in French). The International Crisis Group released a report that calls on the CAR government and international parties to focus on a stabilization strategy. UNICEF called for an end to the fighting in Bangui, noting that the violence has killed, maimed and displaced many children.

Kenya

The American NGO Coalition for the ICC (AMICC) published a paper on the challenges the Kenya cases pose to the ICC. The International Center for Transitional Justice released a study showing government inaction responding to alleged sexual and gender-based crimes during the 2007/08 post-election violence. In a submission to the Universal Periodic Review, Human Rights Watch (HRW) faulted the Kenyan government for failing to stop and encouraging the intimidation of individuals and groups supportive of the ICC.

The ICC Appeals Chamber rejected William Ruto’s request to suspend the order compelling eight witnesses to testify in his trial. Out of concern over hearsay, ICC judges will seek submissions on the rights of the accused in the Ruto/Sang trial. The prosecution has been allowed to use National Intelligence Service (NIS) reports in the case. A witness testified about documents presented to the Waki Commission, and a former official at the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights is believed to be one of the prosecution’s remaining witnesses.

Local civil society accused a Kenyan governor of denying North Rift Valley residents information about the ICC cases after he banned the Court’s outreach activities.

Darfur

Sudan freed an opposition leader who was jailed after criticizing the government for human rights violations in Darfur. The chairman of the Darfur Regional Authority vowed continued support for the displaced of Darfur, but some of the displaced accused him of misleading public opinion. Sudan’s vice president attended the inauguration of voluntary repatriation projects in Darfur, and an estimated 20,000 newly displaced sought refuge near a UNAMID site in North Darfur.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Bosco Ntaganda will appeal against at least eight of the charges confirmed against him by ICC judges. Deutsche Welle reported on efforts to confront the DRC’s rape crisis.

Libya

No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) convened a side event on democratic transition in Libya at the Human Rights Council. Amnesty International called on Libyan armed groups and militias to stop shelling civilian neighborhoods in Benghazi. Renegade Libyan General Khalifa Haftar and his forces left 12 people dead in a fresh offensive in the city.

Côte d’Ivoire

FIDH welcomed the confirmation of charges against Laurent Gbagbo (in French). The UN’s envoy in Côte d’Ivoire said plans to reduce peacekeeping personnel will cautiously continue but that remaining forces must be ready for upcoming elections.

Mali

The UN’s peacekeeping chief called for the immediate start of peace talks in Mali, while the peacekeeping force in Mali announced plans to deploy unmanned drones to help protect civilians and UN troops. A suspected Islamist militant shot his way out of a Bamako jail, killing two and leading to the escape of 15 other prisoners.

Preliminary Examinations

In Nigeria, a suspected Boko Haram suicide bomb attack at a crowded viewing of the World Cup left 14 dead, while the Nigerian military detained 460 people suspected to be members of the insurgent group. Another attack left 15 people dead in the Borno region.

FIDH urged authorities to take further concrete steps to fight impunity in Ukraine. Academic Mark Kersten cautioned that the ICC’s preliminary examination in Ukraine could move slowly and that there is no guarantee a full investigation will proceed.

AMICC published a paper analyzing the ICC’s role in promoting accountability in Colombia. Voters re-elected Colombian President Juan Manuel in an election largely seen as a referendum on peace talks with the FARC.

Campaign for Global Justice

Hamas’s parliamentary bloc called on Palestine President Abbas to take steps to ratify the Rome Statute. A Today’s Zaman columnist encouraged Turkey to join the ICC.

What else is happening?

Coalition senior advisor Stephen Lamony told the Daily Nation that the possible inclusion of head of state immunity in the proposed expansion of the African Court is in conflict with some states’ domestic laws, and a Daily Nation columnist argued that the African Union is seeking to entrench impunity through the African Court’s expansion.

NPWJ convened a  side event on ending impunity in Syria at the Human Rights Council (HRC) and, along with over 30 NGOs, wrote an open letter urging HRC members to recommend that the situation in Syria be referred to the ICC. In a statement at the HRC, HRW welcomed the report of the UN special rapporteur on North Korea, who called for North Korea to be referred to the ICC.

The Victims’ Rights Working Group published a paper on making victims participation at the ICC effective and meaningful. The Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley School of Law has launched a new report entitled Bearing Witness at the ICC: An Interview Survey of 109 WitnessesAmnesty International said that, if elected to the UN Security Council, New Zealand should push to end the veto power of the five permanent members and strengthen the ICC. The ICC started a social media campaign to commemorate International Justice Day. Former Liberian president Charles Taylor requested a transfer from a UK prison to Rwanda, citing alleged mistreatment by British authorities. In a Huffington Post op-ed, Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey analyzed the credentials of newly elected UN human rights chief Ambassador Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan.

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