ICC appeals UNSC to arrest Darfur war crime suspects

ICC appeals UNSC to arrest Darfur war crime suspects


United Nations: Sudan is under intense international pressure to arrest two of its officials accused of war crimes in Darfur as the International Criminal Court (ICC) has sent an appeal on the same to the UN Security Council.

Last May, the Hague-based ICC issued arrest warrants for a Janjaweed militia leaderAli Kosheib and secretary of state Ahmed Haroun, both of them ffacing more than 40 charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes respectively. However, Sudan has refused to hand them over.

In a strong appeal to the UN Security Council, International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo bemoaned Khartoum’s failure to cooperate with the court in securing the arrest of Haroun and pro-government Janjaweed militia leader Kosheib.

“Sudan, a UN member state, has not complied with its obligation under (2005) Security Council) Resolution 1593 to arrest and surrender indictees," the prosecutor said, urging the 15-member council “to act and put an end to this pattern of non-cooperation. The only realist solution today is to request the removal and arrest of Haroun as a first step to any solution," Ocampo said.

“I ask the Security Council to send a strong and unanimous message to the government of Sudan requesting the execution of the arrest warrants, this would send a signal to the perpetrators of crimes in Darfur that the international community is not only watching, but will hold them accountable for their actions," he said.

The council was meanwhile weighing a non-binding statement proposed by its European members that would welcome Ocampo’s report and express “deep concern over the failure of the government of Sudan to arrest and surrender these individuals."

Sudan rejects the ICC’s jurisdiction, and has made it clear it will not hand over the two suspects, arguing that as it did not accept the establishment of the ICC, the court had no jurisdiction over its citizens. Haroun was exonerated by an official Sudanese commission that investigated his time as deputy interior minister in charge of Darfur.

Ocampo said his office was set to start new investigation into the 29 October attack, apparently carried out by rebel forces, against a African Union base in the south Darfur town of Haskanita which left 10 peacekeepers dead.

The ICC, the world’s first permanent war crimes court, was asked by the Security Council in 2005 to investigate and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.

Ocampo’s tough words drew a sharp rebuke from Sudan’s UN envoy Abdalmahmood Mohamad. “Ocampo left aside his legal framework and resorted instead to politicizing the whole issue,we condemn fully the statements he uttered and we deplore his attempt to derail the political process," the Sudanese envoy said.

Ocampo’s report came against a backdrop of pessimism about the prospects for deploying a proposed UN-African Union (AU) peacekeeping force to end the bloodshed in Darfur and for striking a lasting peace deal between Khartoum and Darfur rebels.