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ICC’s decision to freeze Darfur investigations raises fears of further bloodshed

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December 14, 2014 (WASHINGTON) – The decision of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to suspend new investigations into the Darfur situation has raised concerns among Darfurians who expressed disappointment and anger, saying it would generate more violence and chaos in the region.

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ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda briefs the UN Security Council on 13 December 2014 (Photo: UN/Yubi Hoffmann)

“Given this council’s lack of foresight on what should happen in Darfur, I am left with no choice but to hibernate investigative activities in Darfur as I shift resources to other urgent cases,” said Bensouda in a briefing to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on 13 December.

The prosecutor underscored that this decision is the result of UNSC indifference towards her repeated demands for international cooperation with the ICC to hold account Sudanese officials including president Omer al-Bashir charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A visiting fellow at the Institute for African Development at Cornell University, Ahmed Hussein Adam told Sudan Tribune that the prosecutor’s decisions may deepen the Sudan’s crisis and descend the country into more violence and chaos.

Adam further said the decision has given Bashir and his clique of hardliners a reason to celebrate what they called “a victory against the ICC”.

“May be this is not the kind of situation that the Prosecutor wanted to see, but the hibernation of the Darfur’s case has created a state of triumph among Bashir’s supporters,” he said.

Also, the secretary general of the IDPs and refugees in Darfur, Abdallah Adam Abakar, told Sudan Tribune that the ICC decision “to freeze the investigation on Darfur cases was shocking to the aspirations and the desire of the victims to try all the criminals who committed crimes against humanity and genocide”.

Abakar added that it will encourage new massacres against civilians in the troubled region, and accused the international community of conspiring against the victims in Darfur, pointing out to the failure of international justice after the Sudanese Justice.

Adam also insisted on this point but more blamed the Security Council than the war crimes tribunal.

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Ahmed Hussain Adam (Flickr)

“The lack of political will in UNSC has encouraged the perpetrators to continue with their scorched earth campaigns against the innocent civilians in Darfur and other conflict regions of Sudan,” he said.

Several activists in Darfur region reached to comment on the ICC recent decision agree that it may pave the way for more violence particularly attacks on civilians, pointing that all the tribal groups are armed with sophisticated weapons.

Observers say that under its 1593 Resolution under Chapter 7, the UNSC must provide the ICC with the required political and diplomatic support to implement outstanding arrest warrants, launch new investigations and bring more perpetrators to justice.

During the 13 December briefing, few countries like United Kingdom and South Korea expressed their support to the ICC in its efforts to bring justice in Darfur and called on the Sudanese government to enforce all the arrest warrants issued by the Court.

(ST)

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