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ICC Announces the Start of Investigation in Darfur

for the International
Criminal Court

Media Advisory – June 6, 2005

International Criminal Court Announces the Start of Investigation in Darfur

WHAT: The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today announced the opening of an ICC investigation into the situation in Darfur, Sudan. In a press release issued earlier today, the Office of the Prosecutor noted that the investigation will be "impartial and independent, focusing on the individuals who bear the greatest criminal responsibility for crimes committed in Darfur". Crimes falling within the ICC's jurisdiction are genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

WHEN: The opening of today's investigation follows the UN Security Council's referral of the Darfur situation (SC Resolution 1593) to the Office of Prosecutor on March 31, 2005. According to the UN, some 180,000 people have died as a result of the conflict and close to two million people have been forced from their homes in just the past two years. This Security Council vote marked the first time the Security Council has referred a case to the ICC. Resolution 1593 requires that Sudan and all other parties to the Darfur conflict cooperate with the ICC.

HOW: Five days after the Security Council referral, on April 5, 2005, the ICC Prosecutor received a sealed envelope from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the UN Headquarters in New York that contained the International Commission of Inquiry conclusions about the Darfur situation, including a list of 51 suspects. On that same day, nine boxes of documents from the International Commission of Inquiry were also delivered to the ICC in The Hague. According to the Prosecutor's office, the Commission report indicated that there were mass killings of civilians, systematic rape of girls and women, and the burning of family homes. In addition to the Commission's report, the Office of the Prosecutor also announced today that it has "requested information from a variety of sources, leading to the collection of thousands of documents….[and has] interviewed over 50 independent experts." Multiple sources of information were analyzed by the Office of the Prosecutor, including reports from the Government of Sudan; the African Union; the United Nations and other organizations; local and international media; academic experts and others. On the basis of his analysis to date, the Prosecutor has concluded that the "statutory requirements for initiating an investigation were satisfied."

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Important notice: The CICC, an independent NGO movement, is dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization. The Coalition will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC and to help coordinate global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to raise awareness about the ICC’s trigger mechanisms and procedures, as they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, does not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts.

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