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ICC Prosecutor urges Security Council to arrest Sudan’s Bashir

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Sudan's Omer al-Bashir attends the swearing-in ceremony of Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in Kampala, Uganda, May 12, 2016. (Reuters/Edward Echwalu=

June 8, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Thursday renewed calls to arrest the Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir and other suspects of alleged war crimes and genocide in Darfur region.

The Hague-based court issued arrest warrants for Bashir in 2009 and 2010, accusing him of committing genocide and other atrocities during a counterinsurgency campaign in western Sudan region of Darfur.

However, Bashir continues to defy the arrest warrants and travel across the world including in ICC state members where he is welcomed by its leaders. Also, Sudan last March criticised a UN spokesperson for calling to arrest and hand over Bashir to the war crimes court.

“Not one of the suspects for whom warrants have been issued has been arrested and transferred to the International Criminal Court,” ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the United Nations Security Council.

Further, she said that the victims and their families should not despair or abandon hope, pointing 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 UN Security Council referred the Darfur case to the ICC for investigation in March 2005 under a Chapter VII resolution since Sudan is not a member of the ICC.

“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 organisations can do the same.

Bensouda noted that to date, the Court has made 13 decisions on non-compliance and referred them to the Security Council.

“Yet not one has been acted upon by this Council,” she said. “By failing to act in response to such Court decisions, this Council is, in essence, relinquishing and undermining its clear role on such matters,” she stressed.

Regarding his trips South Africa, the prosecutor said the ICC pre-trial chamber plans to decide whether South Africa acted in non-compliance with the Statute when it failed to arrest and hand over al-Bashir in June 2015.

By the end of March 2017, the Sudanese president travelled to Jordan to attend an Arab League meeting, 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,” she said. “It is also an affront to the victims in the Darfur situation,” she said.

(ST)

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