ICC president says troubled by failure to arrest wanted suspects
Saturday 30 October 2010
October 29, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – The president of the International Criminal Court (ICC) expressed disappointment on Thursday that arrest warrants remain outstanding against a handful of suspects and called on the international community to assist
||the tribunal to step up efforts to bring them to justice.
"The situation with respect to the outstanding arrest warrants is deeply troubling. As you know, the ICC is completely reliant on state cooperation in the enforcement of its orders and decisions. If States do not provide the cooperation necessary for the Court’s functioning in accordance with their legal obligations, the ICC will not be able to fulfill its mandate and impunity will continue to flourish," Judge Sang-Hyun Song told the U.N. General Assembly.
"This is having a devastating effect on victims and the communities affected by the crimes under the Court’s jurisdiction" Song added. ? The International Criminal Court, or ICC, has no police force and is "completely reliant" on member states to enforce its orders, he said.
The South Korean judge recalled that arrest warrants are outstanding against eight suspects, including four alleged commanders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, who have evaded arrest for more than five years.
He also cited Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s recent visits to Chad and Kenya — which are parties to the Rome Statute that established the court — and the failure of both governments to arrest him despite outstanding warrants for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.
Last month, the African Union asked the UN Security Council (UNSC) to delay al-Bashir’s prosecution for a year because a trial would interfere with efforts to end the seven-year conflict in western Darfur which has left up to 300,000 people dead and forced 2.7 million to flee their homes, according to U.N. figures.
But the AU angered by lack of response from the UNSC instructed its members not to cooperate in arresting Bashir. Not all countries however agreed to adhere to the resolution,
Judge Song backed the referral of the failure of Kenya and Chad to arrest al-Bashir, which is required under the statute, to both the U.N. Security Council and the court’s Assembly of States Parties which includes all 114 countries.
He also lamented Sudan’s failure to arrest South Kordofan governor Ahmed Harun and militia leader Ali Kushayb who were accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2007.
The court’s pretrial chamber has referred Sudan’s noncompliance with its obligation to cooperate with the court to the Security Council in May, Song said.
"I urge the international community to intensify its efforts to bring these persons to justice," Song said.
He also criticized the failure to arrest Congolese warlord, Bosco Ntaganda, sought by the court for war crimes, who is reported to be in Goma in eastern Congo, "allegedly contributing to ongoing crimes."
"This arrest warrant must be executed and I call on all relevant actors to cooperate to that effect," Song said.
The ICC is currently handling 5 cases consisting of Uganda, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) , Darfur and Kenya.
With the exception of Darfur all other cases have been referred voluntarily by their respective governments to the ICC for investigation. The Kenyan case was initiated by the ICC prosecutor after the government there gave the ICC a green light to do so yet declining to refer it for political reasons.
The UNSC issued resolution 1593 under chapter VII in March 2005 referring the situation in Darfur to the ICC.