On June 5th the ICC’s Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, gave his semi-annual report to the U.N. Security Council.
He said the Court had “fulfilled its judicial mandate. The evidence collected uncovered the functioning of the State apparatus used to commit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Those who bear the greatest responsibility have been indicted [Sudanese President al-Bashir, its defense minister, former interior minister and a leader of the Janjaweed militia]. The current challenge is their arrest.”
The Prosecutor added, “President Al Bashir is taking advantage of his position of power to continue with his strategy and to ensure his own impunity and the impunity of those who follow his instructions.” That strategy, the Prosecutor stated, includes:
- “threats to the international community to commit new crimes in other areas of the Sudan;
- denial of his own crimes, denial of the rapes in the villages and in the camps; attributing the killings to banditry, sporadic clashes between rebel groups, or reducing its relevance through statistic comparisons; and attributing conditions in the camps to other factors like drought, lack of proper seeds or inability to access farming land;
- forcing the international community into a never-ending negotiation in order to gain access to those displaced;
- a permanent promise of a peace negotiation. The international community chases promises of peace agreements that are systematically ignored while President Bashir’s forces commits more attack and creates the conditions for new promises of peace agreements;
- announcements of justice initiatives followed only by new announcements, not by action. After more than seven years of instituting judicial mechanisms, the . . . [government] has conducted no proceedings relevant to the crimes committed in Darfur; and
- the open defiance of the Security Council’s authority including public announcement that its resolutions will not be implemented.”
The Prosecutor, therefore, suggested that the Council request all 193 U.N. member states or regional organizations to take action to enforce the arrest warrants.
The Council’s record of the meeting indicates that the Prosecutor’s report was supported by the representatives of the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany Portugal, Colombia, Guatemala and Togo. More qualified support with emphasis on assisting negotiation of peace accords to end the fighting in Sudan/Darfur was expressed by Morocco, South Africa, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, India and China.
The session ended with a heated exchange between Moreno-Ocampo and the Sudanese Ambassador after earlier he had rejected the Prosecutor’s assertions as “fallacious.”
The Prosecutor said that he was advising the Council and putting the Ambassador on notice that his denial of crimes in Darfur “could be considered part of those crimes” and that the Prosecutor’s office had “an obligation to investigate anyone responsible for the commission of crimes.” Therefore, his office would investigate whether this denial “could be considered a contribution to a group of perpetrators acting with a common purpose” and would take appropriate action if the evidence supports such a contention.
The Sudanese Ambassador responded in Arabic (and translated into English) that this statement was “a violation of all political and diplomatic norms. It is a threat that should be rejected . . . and a statement of a terrorist who is trying to silence the voice of justice and [a statement] of a politician who does not recognize the political and diplomatic rules and norms that give us the right to defend ourselves and make our voices heard by the Council.” The Ambassador added that the Prosecutor “has tackled all of these issues–in a totally illegal, immoral and illogical manner, to the extent of intimidation and terrorization.”
Earlier posts have discussed various aspects of the ICC’s investigation of the Sudan/Darfur situation, including the Security Council’s referral of the Sudan/Darfur situation to the ICC in March 2005 during the George W. Bush Administration and the Prosecutor’s report to the Council in June 2011 with a comment to the latter about the December 2011 report to the Council.