The Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, has called for arrest and handing over of Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir over alleged genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Ms. Bensouda made the call at a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan, according to a statement obtained in New York.
The ICC prosecutor particularly slammed South Africa and Jordan for failing to arrest Al Bashir over crimes committed in the Darfur region of Sudan when he travelled to the countries.
She said a pre-trial chamber of the Court plans to decide whether South Africa acted in non-compliance with the Statute when it failed to arrest and surrender Al Bashir in June 2015.
Most recently, Mr. Al Bashir travelled to Jordan on March 29, 2017, but Jordan declined to arrest and surrender him.
“Inviting, facilitating or supporting the international travel of any person subject to an ICC arrest warrant is inconsistent with a commitment to international criminal justice.
“It is also an affront to the victims in the Darfur situation,” she said.
Ms. Bensouda noted that to date, the Court had made 13 decisions on non-compliance and referred them to the Security Council.
The ICC prosecutor, however, regretted that “yet not one has been acted upon by this Council.
“By failing to act in response to such Court decisions, this Council is in essence relinquishing and undermining its clear role on such matters”.
The prosecutor said there had been alleged cases of non-compliance by the parties to the treaty.
“Not one of the suspects for whom warrants have been issued has been arrested and transferred to the International Criminal Court.
“To those who continue to long for justice in Darfur; do not despair and do not abandon hope,” she told victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and their families,” Ms. Bensouda told Council.
She recalled that the international tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia were reminders that persistence and determination could result in the arrest and surrender of suspects many years after the issuance of arrest warrants.
The ICC was established by the treaty known as the Rome Statute adopted at an international conference in Rome on July 17, 1998 and it entered into force on July 1, 2002.
“The States that form this Council have the power, independently and collectively, to positively influence and incentivize States, whether or not parties to the Rome Statute.
“To assist in the efforts to arrest and surrender the Darfur suspects,” she said, adding that regional organizations can do the same.
In 2005, the Council asked the Hague-based Court to investigate war crimes in Darfur.
ICC judges issued arrest warrants in 2009 for Mr. Al-Bashir and other top officials for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the western Darfur region.
No fewer than 300,000 people were reported to have died and millions displaced in Darfur since civil war erupted in 2003 between the government and rebels.