The FIDH calls on the Security Council to refer the matter to the ICC

Paris, 1 February 2005 - The report of the international commission of enquiry, mandated by the UN Security Council, published on 31 January, qualifies the crimes committed in Darfour as war crimes and crimes against humanity, and recommends their referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The FIDH welcomes these conclusions. As early as September 2004
 [1] the FIDH considered that it was incumbent on the Security Council to refer the situation in Darfour to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, in accordance with art. 13 b) of the Statute of Rome
In 21 years of war between the North and the South, not one single official has been brought to justice. Impunity, the ineffectiveness of the Sudanese judicial system, in which courts of limited jurisdiction are the rule and not the exception, cannot guarantee lasting peace in Darfour [3]. Sudan not having ratified the Statute of the International Criminal Court, the only alternative is for the Security Council itself to activate the Court.

Such a referral is justified not only by the lack of any effective national alternative: it also has another purpose.

As stated by Sidiki Kaba, President of the FIDH: "If the members of the Security Council refer the matter to the ICC, that will send a strong and deterrent message to all authors of international crimes in Darfour, reminding them that their individual criminal responsibility will henceforth systematically be brought to account".

The ICC would be the only body capable of responding to the expectations of the victims, who for the first time in the history of international criminal justice can take an active part in the Court’s proceedings. Experience elsewhere shows how much the active participation of the victims in enforcement procedures against the authors of international crimes is essential, not only for the effectiveness of credible and independent international justice, but also for the reestablishment of lasting peace.

Lastly, a strong commitment on the part of the Security Council in favour of the ICC would give the United States the opportunity to revise their hostility to the ICC [4], by supporting the fundamental rights of the victims to effective international justice.

The FIDH reminds the other member States of the Security Council that it would not be acceptable to buy the approval of the American administration with immunity granted to its citizens [5]. The reactivation of the American exception granted in 2002 and 2003 by the Security Council in its resolutions 1422 and 1487 would be disastrous.

The seriousness of the crimes committed in Darfour calls for a firm response to their authors. Is that not precisely the message that the member States of the United Nations rightly and opportunely sent out on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau?

The members of the United Nations Security Council must shoulder their responsibilities and refer the situation in Darfour to the ICC: there is no other possible alternative!

Read more