ICC Prosecutor asks Security Council to act on outstanding arrest warrants

Omar Al Bashir recently travelled to countries that recognize the International Criminal Court (ICC) but none arrested or surrendered the Sudanese President, the ICC Prosecutor today told the United Nations Security Council.

I call on this Council to prioritise action on the outstanding warrants of arrest issued by the Court, Fatou Bensouda told the Security Council in New York.

She also said that there can be no justification for States Parties to fail to arrest a suspect against whom an ICC warrant of arrest has been issued, irrespective of that person's official status.

Ms. Bensouda's briefing comes one day after the Pre-Trial Chamber II decided that Jordan, which is a non-permanent member of the Security Council, was non-compliant when Mr. Al Bashir visited Amman in March. The Chamber agreed to refer the matter to the Assembly of States Parties of the Rome Statute � which established the ICC � and to the Security Council.

This costly inaction has the potential to undermine the fight against impunity, the effect of which is to lower the bar of accountability that many have fought to raise, Ms. Bensouda said.

This continuous nonfeasance only serves to embolden others to invite Mr. A1 Bashir to their territory, safe in the knowledge that there will be no consequences from this Council for such breaches, she added.

Mr. Al Bashir last week visited Chad, a country which had been referred to the Security Council for non-compliance on this matter in 2011 and 2013.

The Sudanese President also recently visited Russia and Uganda, among other countries.

In June 2015, he visited South Africa. While the Chamber established that there was no legal or factual justification for South Africa's failure to arrest and surrender Mr. Al Bashir, it decided against referring South Africa to the Assembly of States Parties or to the Security Council.

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, where up to 300,000 people may have died and millions have been displaced since civil war erupted in 2003 between the Government and rebels.

Source: UN News Centre

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