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African Union calls on UNSC to cancel Sudan’s referral to ICC

January 28, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – The African Union’s executive council has approved a draft resolution demanding the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) cancel its resolution referring Sudan to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

A general view of a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (Photo courtesy of the African Union)

In its 26th ordinary session held in Addis Ababa, the executive council urged the UNSC to support the African Court of Human and People’s Rights (AfCHPR), dismissing threats of some European partners to stop support for the ACJH and calling for an immediate action to establish it.

The AfCHPR is a regional court created to make judgements on African Union states’ compliance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

It came into being on 25 January 2004 with the ratification by fifteen member states of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Establishing the AfCHPR.

Sudan’s state minister at the ministry of foreign affairs and head of delegation to the meeting, Kamal Ismail, has criticised the ICC and its resolutions, saying it is a politicised court that has nothing to do with the law.

He underscored Sudan’s support to the AfCHPR, urging the executive council to submit an official request to the UNSC, demanding cancellation of the resolution referring Sudan to the ICC.

The UNSC has referred the Sudan case to the ICC under a Chapter VII resolution in 2005 since Sudan is not a state party to the court.

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir, defence minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, former state minister for interior Ahmed Haroun and Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb have been indicted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Darfur.

Sudan had been cooperated with the court up until the first arrest warrants against Kushayb and Haroun were issued in 2007.

Last December, the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced in her semi-annual briefing before the UNSC that she will suspend new investigations into the Darfur situation, citing the lack of UNSC support and stretched resources.

The executive council’s meeting praised the decision of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to receive the Sudanese president during the meetings of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in February 2014.