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Libya, China push for inclusion of ICC suspension in UNAMID resolution

July 25, 2008 (UNITED NATIONS) — The Chinese and Libyan delegations at the UN Security Council are pushing for including a paragraph referencing the possibility of suspending indictment of the Sudanese president by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad (R) and British Permanent Representative to the U.N. John Sawers vote during a meeting of the Security Council at the United Nations July 11, 2008 in New York City (AFP)

The Inner City Press website reporter at the UN reported that Libya wanted to include a paragraph that mentions the possibility of invoking Article 16 of the ICC Statue regarding the authority of the UNSC to suspend its work on a case.

The inclusion was going to be in a resolution extending the mandate of UN-African Union hybrid force (UNAMID) in Darfur which ends on July 31st.

Article 16 of the ICC Statue states that “no investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded with under this Statute for a period of 12 months after the Security Council, in a resolution adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, has requested the Court to that effect; that request may be renewed by the Council under the same conditions”.

The ICC’s prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked pre-trial judges last week to issue arrest warrants for Al-Bashir.

Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. Judges are expected to take months to study the evidence before deciding whether to order Al-Bashir’s arrest.

The Libyan proposal gained the initial backing of nine UNSC countries, the website reported, enough to make it go through assuming no veto. The countries that opposed it included France along with other veto wielding members.

However intense lobbying by unidentified UNSC countries managed to reduce support to the Libyan proposal to only two countries including China and South Africa.

However the South African hinted that they no longer insist on including the Article 16 paragraph to let the resolution pass.

The African Union (AU) this week asked the UNSC to invoke article 16 of Rome Statue and suspend any indictment of Sudan’s head of state.

It is widely expected that China and Russia would back such a step but neither have tabled a formal resolution.

However to gain an agreement within the UNSC, Sudan’s allies China and Russia must ensure that US, UK and France will not use the veto power to block a resolution on suspension.

Sudan has not ratified the Rome Statue, but the UNSC invoked the provisions under the Statue that enables it to refer situations in non-State parties to the world court if it deems that it is a threat to international peace and security.

(ST)