Home | News    Tuesday 3 March 2009

ICC judges reject prosecutor’s request for expedited decision on Darfur rebel case

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March 2, 2009 (WASHINGTON) — The judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber I at the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a decision today rejecting the prosecutor’s request to consider on an expedited basis the case he submitted last November against the three unidentified rebel figures.

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International Criminal Court’s (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo (AFP)

The ICC judges recalled a previously unannounced decision they made last December refusing to allow prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to disclose names of the Darfur rebel commanders who have allegedly masterminded an attack on African Union (AU) peacekeepers in October 2007.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s third case on Darfur, opened in late 2007, investigates a rebel attack on the Haskanita military base that left 10 African Union (AU) soldiers dead and one missing.

The counts against the rebel leaders in the case filed under seal included war crimes of violence to life, intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission and pillaging.

Attacking peacekeepers constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute which forms the basis of the ICC.

Last December the Pre-Trial Chamber I judges asked the prosecutor for “additional information and supporting materials” on the rebels case by January 26. Ocampo submitted his responses to the judges on January 16th and the 26th.

The redacted version of the judges’ decision today show that Ocampo filed a request with the Chamber on 22nd and 24th December of last year asking for permission to notify the rebel commanders that they have been named as suspects in the application.

The prosecutor justified his request by saying that the notification will enable the rebel commanders to “appear before the Court at an appropriate time”. However the chamber denied the request.

The judges also mentioned that last week the prosecutor asked the judges to issue a quick ruling on the rebels’ case as well as three secret requests.

Today’s decision makes frequent references to a separate case being reviewed by the Chamber against Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir. It also mentions the February 3rd closed meeting held between the judges, the registrar, prosecutor and the Victims and Witnesses Unit (VWU).

The meeting was held to discuss aspects in relation to Bashir’s case according to court documents. There was no word on the specific issues tackled but judges revealed that in the session, Ocampo informed the judges of unspecified new events “and undertook to keep the Chamber informed of any developments in this regard”.

Furthermore the judges said that in reaching a decision on Ocampo’s request have considered “all issues raised by the Prosecution’s application for a warrant of arrest for Omar Al Bashir” after which they announced March 4th as decision date on Sudanese president’s case.

It is not clear why Al-Bashir’s case is mentioned in today’s decision though the prosecutor’s request suggests that the prosecutor wanted to begin the process of bringing the rebel commanders at court before March 4th as he believes that it may be more difficult to secure their appearance after that date.

The inference can be made considering the judges’ assertion today that “until the Chamber issues a decision on the Prosecution Application, States have no obligation, pursuant to either the Statute or the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1593, to grant a visa to any such individual for the purpose of travelling to the Hague to appear before this Chamber”.

The ICC prosecutor in his November 20th application left the door open for an issuing a summons to appear rather than an arrest warrant if the rebel commanders cooperate.

“Subject to the Pre-Trial Chamber’s determination, the Prosecution submits that a summons to appear could be an alternative pursued by the Court if the Court receives information as to the possible voluntary appearance of the individuals” the application reads.

Ocampo also told Agence France Presse (AFP) that “while the judges decide on the warrants, they [suspects] now have the chance to appear on their own accord. They know who they are”.

The Pre-Trial chamber brushed aside any prospects of a quick decision on the rebels’ case saying that a “particularly detailed analysis of the materials provided in the Prosecution Application and in the Prosecution’s Provision of Further Information is required”.

They also informed the prosecutor that “in light of the complexity of several aspects of the Prosecution Application” they will in the future refuse to take into account any request for expedited proceedings” or “decide in a manner detrimental to the fundamental rights of the persons for whom warrants of arrest or summonses to appear are requested”.

It is not uncommon for the prosecutor to ask judges for expedited consideration on his applications. Similar requests were made in other cases being handled by the court.

One example is the case against former vice president of Congo Jean Pierre Bemba where the prosecutor said that a quick decision was needed on his application as they have received intelligence that he plans to leave Belgium where he resided which posed risks that he could not be apprehended afterwards.

The judges granted the request enabling the ICC to nab Bemba in Belgium within two weeks of the prosecutor’s application.

Ocampo has in the past expressed confidence that his case against the rebel suspects would gain quick approval from the judges describing it as “straightforward”.

All major Darfur rebel movements have publicly announced that they will cooperate with the ICC even if asked to surrender themselves over in connection with the Haskanita attack.

Sudan refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC saying it has not ratified the treaty establishing the court. Currently there are two ICC arrest warrants pending for Ahmed Haroun, state minister for humanitarian affairs, and militia commander Ali Mohamed Ali Abdel-Rahman, also know as Ali Kushayb.

Khartoum has also said that they will not accept that any Sudanese citizens including rebels to be extradited to The Hague.

(ST)

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  • 3 March 2009 06:29, by Buk Dan Buk

    Anyone who committed gonecide in Sudan deserve to go to trail. that mean those two commander whose names are not mention must too be arrested because they are also part of Omar problem, they are the one who did the action.
    They must face the justice.

    repondre message

  • 3 March 2009 06:49, by Freedom Fighter

    In the first place, the request of an arrest warant against Darfur rebels was a mistake from Mr. Occambo. He should have not done that because Darfur rebels are fighting for their rights. I just can’t understand how come Mr. Occambo tried to incriminate sophisticated human right movements (Darfur groups). Look, when they invaded Omdurman in May last year, they were not destructive as Omer Albashir, but they were very selective on their targets and did not touch even one single innocent civilian. Congratulation judges for the job well done.

    repondre message

  • 3 March 2009 10:26, by Nyaopun Aban Aban

    Freedom Fighter.

    Not a mistake for prosecutor Luis Ocampo to disclose names of the Darfur rebel commanders who have allegedly masterminded. Even through its rights for rebels to fights but, No to ambush African Union peacekeeping mission soldiers. To speed up, the progress of ICC case to accomplish promptly against Sudan. This is only mission to done.

    Just have grave and mumbles on; Buk Dan Buk “Whose names appears on the book of Sudan genocide deserve to be trail" The mission is not only president Omer al Hassan bashir plus his three cabinets, and Darfur rebel commanders. But, everyones who commited against human rights abuses.

    Please, now that you have your new file in the folder restarts your PC as you normally!!!

    Prosecutor Luis Ocampo, have an obligations to speed up, the progress of ICC case to accomplish promptly against Sudan. This is not only missioning to be done.

    repondre message

  • 3 March 2009 13:51, by tayeb M. Alhassan

    This is an uphill river flow for the ICC warrant thirty fans to drink. Decency still has some supporters. Give me five!!!!

    repondre message

    • 3 March 2009 16:49, by Bazinguaboy

      Thhere’s a high five, El-Tayeb. I sleep and wake up wondering whether Ocampo and his team would be able to crack the case of Sudan. Watch this space tomorrow ... our shrewed politicians will always find a way out without inviting blame for any wrong-doing (remember how Sudan cornered the UNAMID into becoming a toothless 17,000-strong force with no helicopters and other vital equipment they need for their noble mandated task and with little else to do in Darfur save escorting women to their firewood runs?)

      repondre message

      • 4 March 2009 10:59, by David Deng Makuei Nhial

        I think my people blaming Ocampo by indicting some Darfur reble leaders who have had carried out an attack against International peace keeppers in Darfur is wrong, because they have had done mistake and should be tried too.However my appeal to ICC is that, those Darfur reble leaders accuced of attacking UN Mission camp in Darfur is fales and will be false, it was the SAF which dose that, inorder to share blame of human right abuse with Darfur rebles. How come to attack some one who is protecting your people , UNID was protecting Darfur displaced persons not Khartoum displaced persons and therefore no one among Darfur reble would do that .

        Please take him; the big deaf dog will know all are equal before law and God , No President or field Marshiel and No king at that stage, don’t hisitate by mobilizing innoncence people to suffer your own making. Go Bashir leave Sudan.

        repondre message

        • 4 March 2009 18:37, by Kon Paul Awenchol

          congretulation mr David,nobody above the law except almighty God.the people who are defending themselves from somebody who assume to get ride of the western tribe of Fur.i think they can not attempt to attack those who have come to help them. those who want to espoused Occampo to issue what the want is rejected by the judges.but it is with humble acceptance that Bashir has been accused by the Fur people from his antoganize imperialist government and that have been discovered by the Hague.so the false can not be given a pass.let him go to the court to face the consequences of his disobedience.

          repondre message

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