European Parliament’s call for State action on the Sudanese government’s lack of cooperation with the International Criminal Court

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisation, the Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT) in London, welcome the resolution adopted yesterday by the European Parliament, condemning Sudan’s persistent failure to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and calling for further State action to recall Sudan to its international obligations.

In an exemplary resolution, the European Parliament condemned Sudan’s obstruction of the work of the ICC as well as the government’s blatant disregard for the many victims of the Darfur conflict.

"We applaud today’s resolution and call for the recommendations to be implemented without delay. For the first time, an international institution has clearly condemned Sudan’s obstructive behaviour and provocation to the international community, making that situation clear and issuing encouraging recommendations," declared Souhayr Belhassen, President of FIDH.

The resolution comes only a few weeks before the next report by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to the Security Council, which is scheduled for 5 June. The ICC Prosecutor is expected to reiterate his call for the Security Council to put further pressure on Sudan to cooperate with the court.

In yesterday’s resolution, the European Parliament "urges the EU Member States and candidate countries with a seat at the UN Security Council – i.e. Belgium, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Croatia – to take a principled stance during the Prosecutor’s briefing on 5 June, in compliance with the EU Common Position on the ICC, and to respond adequately to the Prosecutor’s findings by calling on Sudan to comply immediately with UNSC Resolution 1593 and with the Court’s requests".

It also calls on "all other States represented at the UN Security Council to support any cooperation request put forward by the ICC Prosecutor on behalf of the Court and, in particular, calls on China, Russia, South Africa and Libya to follow through on their own words under Security Council Resolution 1593 and not to obstruct the Security Council’s action on 5 June".

FIDH and SOAT join the European Parliament in calling upon EU Member States to take the lead at the UN Security Council on 5 June and to confront China and the other above-mentioned countries who favour their political interest over the victims’ call for justice, in order to adopt a public statement on the obligation of Khartoum to cooperate with the ICC .

The organisations also welcome the Parliament’s call for the European Council to discuss targeted economic sanctions against "a clearly identified group of Sudanese officials who bear responsibility for Sudan’s non-cooperation with the Court."

Background

A deadly conflict pitting Sudan’s Khartoum-based government against rebel movements seeking power-sharing has ravaged Darfur for the last five years. In March 2005, the United Nations Security Council referred the situation to the ICC by Resolution 1593, which poses an obligation on the government of Sudan to cooperate with the Court. In April 2007, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Ahmed Harun, former Minister for the Interior and current State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, and Ali Kushayb, an alleged Janjaweed militia leader. To date, these two persons remain at large. Not only has Harun not been arrested but he has also been maintained in his position as a State Minister, has reportedly been appointed to a committee responsible for investigating human rights violations in Sudan and has more recently become a liaison with the United Nations – African Union peacekeeping force (UNAMID). Ali Kushayb, who had been in custody on other charges at the time the arrest warrants were issued, has since then been released.

Sudan has repeatedly and adamantly refused to cooperate with the ICC. The ICC Prosecutor denounced Sudan’s lack of cooperation in his last report to the Security Council in December 2007. Despite positive statements by several members of the Security Council, the Council was unable to adopt a declaration or resolution formally condemning Sudan’s obstruction and calling on Khartoum to comply with its obligation under Resolution 1593.

On 31 March 2008 (on the third anniversary of the Security Council referral of the situation in Darfur to the ICC), the EU Presidency expressed "its profound dismay with the Governments of Sudan’s continued failure to comply with its obligations under UNSC Resolution 1593 including its refusal to arrest and surrender these men to the ICC for prosecution, much less allow the ICC to question them."

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