ICC: SA's refusal to arrest al-Bashir 'an affront to Darfur victims'

File: The Court was established by the treaty known as the Rome Statute, adopted at an international conference in Rome on July 17, 1998. Photo: Flickr

JOHANNESBURG – The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) has reiterated her call for countries to arrest and surrender the suspects of alleged genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed in the Darfur region of Sudan, including President Omar al-Bashir.

“Not one of the suspects for whom warrants have been issued has been arrested and transferred to the International Criminal Court,” ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the United Nations Security Council on Thursday.

In remarks directed at the victims and their families, she said “to those who continue to long for justice in Darfur: do not despair and do not abandon hope.”

She pointed out that the international tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia were reminders that persistence and determination could result in the arrest and surrender of suspects, many years after the issuance of arrest warrants.

READ: South Africa revokes its withdrawal from the ICC

The ICC was established by the treaty known as the Rome Statute, adopted at an international conference in Rome on 17 July 1998.

It came into force on 1 July 2002.

“The states that form this Council have the power, independently and collectively, to positively influence and incentivise states, whether or not party to the Rome Statute, to assist in the efforts to arrest and surrender the Darfur suspects,” she said, adding that regional organisations could do the same.

The prosecutor said there had been alleged cases of non-compliance by the parties to the treaty.

She said a pre-trial chamber of the Court planned to decide whether South Africa acted in non-compliance with the Statute when it failed to arrest and surrender al-Bashir in June 2015.

More recently, al-Bashir travelled to Jordan on 29 March, but that country also declined to arrest and surrender him.

READ: South Africa to appear before ICC for Al Bashir saga

“Inviting, facilitating or supporting the international travel of any person subject to an ICC arrest warrant is inconsistent with a commitment to international criminal justice,” she said.

“It is also an affront to the victims in the Darfur situation.”

Bensouda noted that to date, the Court had made 13 decisions on non-compliance and referred them to the Security Council.


African News Agency

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