The Security Council must react firmly to the ICC Prosecutor’s report and enjoin Sudan to cooperate with the Court

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) denounced on 5 December the absence of cooperation by Sudan on the investigation into crimes committed in Darfur and asked the Security Council to order the Sudanese authorities to comply with their international obligations.

"The evidence is serious. The Security Council must immediately react and make everything possible to ensure that its resolutions are enforced. The complete absence of justice is unbearable for the victims", declared Souhayr Belhassen, President of FIDH. "This way the Security Council would also ensure its credibility and that one of the resolutions adopted for the maintenance of international peace and security."

On 31 May 2005, the Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC according to its resolution 1593, which compelled the Government of Sudan to cooperate with the Court. Two months after that, Luis Moreno Ocampo, ICC Prosecutor, announced the opening of an investigation. On 27 April 2007, the Pre-Trial Chamber I issued two arrest warrants for 51 charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes against Ahmed Harun, current Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, and Ali Kushayb, militia janjaweed leader.

"Not only does the Government not cooperate with the Court and refuse deliberately to arrest and transfer the two suspects, but it also protects them. Impunity contributes to the commission of further crimes against humanity in Sudan", said Hashim Ahmed from SOAT (Sudanese Organisation Against Torture).

The recent appointment of Harun to the committee in charge of examining complaints on human rights violations in Darfur, and as person in charge of supervising the deployment of peace-keeping forces, as well as the liberation of Ali Kushayb, are an affront to victims and raise the issue of the complicity between the highest Sudanese officials and the suspects.

It is on the basis of this observation that Luis Moreno Ocampo announced last Wednesday that the next investigations would focus on "who is bearing the greatest responsibility for ongoing attacks against civilians; who is maintaining Harun in a position to commit crimes; who is instructing him" as well as on crimes committed against humanitarian personnel. He asked the Security Council for consistency, by requesting that Sudan comply with its international obligations.

Some members of the Security Council declared that they supported a declaration that would effectively enjoin Sudan to cooperate. But the reluctance of certain members, like Russia, China and Qatar must still be overcome.

FIDH and SOAT restate their appeal to the Security Council to react urgently and firmly. The Council must support the judicial process that it has itself triggered, as one of the essential components for the reestablishment of peace and justice in Sudan.

"Enforcement of the Court’s decisions must be consistently and publicly presented as a non-negotiable, integral part of any comprehensive solution, a vital contribution to ending crimes and to achieving key political, security and humanitarian goals" reminded the Prosecutor. "What is at stake is, simply, the life or death of 2.5 million people."

For more information, see:

- Statement and Sixth Report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, to the UN Security Council pursuant to UNSC 1593, 5 December 2007
- Joint letter to the Presidency of the Republic of France on the situation in Darfur and the position of Sudanese government (only available in French), 4 December 2007
- FIDH Report "We want security, we want justice", 25 October 2007
- FIDH-SOAT Press Release "When will the insults to the victims of crimes committed in Darfur end?", 3 October 2007
- FIDH-SOAT Press Release "Sudan: A new step towards impunity", 10 September 2007
- FIDH-SOAT Press Release "Sudan must surrender an acting Minister and a Janjaweed militia leader to the International Criminal Court", 4 May 2007

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