posted on THU 15 DEC 2011 6:00 AM
ICC Briefing on Darfur

Today (Thursday, 15 December), the Council is scheduled to receive a regular briefing on Sudan from Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), followed by a private meeting. (These briefings are held in accordance with resolution 1593, which referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC and invited the Prosecutor to brief the Council every six months.) Council members are not expecting any formal outcome from the meeting.

The ICC has been actively engaged on Sudan issues in recent weeks. On 2 December, Moreno-Ocampo requested Pre-Trial Chamber I to issue an arrest warrant for Sudan’s Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed between August 2003 and March 2004 in Darfur. (Hussein served during that time as Interior Minister and Special Representative of the President in Darfur.)

On 12 December, the ICC announced that Malawi, a party to the Rome Statute, had been referred to the Security Council and the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties for its failure to apprehend and surrender Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he visited Malawi in October. (Bashir has been indicted by the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.)

On 13 December, the same ICC pre-trial chamber decided that Chad had also not met its obligation to fully cooperate with the ICC by failing to arrest and surrender Bashir when he visited Chad in August. It likewise referred the case to the Council and the Assembly of State Parties, saying that it is up to those two bodies to “take any measures they may deem appropriate to ensure the full cooperation with the ICC.” (It is the second time the ICC has referred Chad’s non-compliance to the Council, following Bashir’s visit to Chad in July for a summit of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States. In light of the obligations emanating from the Chapter VII resolution referring the situation in Darfur to the ICC, and as a signatory of the Rome Statute, Chad—like Malawi—had a legal obligation to detain Bashir.)

There appear to be substantive differences within the Council regarding the ICC’s work in Darfur, especially between those members that are parties to the Rome Statute and those that have been critical of the Court’s indictment of Bashir. There seems to be tension as well between the ICC and the AU, which released a communiqué on 4 December in which it indicated that the “membership of the AU will continue to comply scrupulously with the African common position on the respect of the immunity of… Bashir, as well as that of all the other incumbent African Heads of State.”