Int. Criminal Court Addresses UN On Darfur Crisis
WHAT: Today, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, addressed the United Nations Security Council about the activities and planning undertaken by his office since the March 31, 2005 Security Council Resolution 1593 which referred the situation in Darfur, Sudan to the ICC. Following his public statement to the Security Council, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo met with Security Council members in a private session.
WHEN: Resolution 1593 marked the first time that the UN Security Council has referred a case to the ICC. In his address, the Prosecutor noted that information gathered by his office indicates that thousands of civilians have been killed in the region, approximately 1.9 million civilians have been displaced, and there appears to be a pervasive pattern of rape and sexual violence along with persistent targeting and intimidation of humanitarian personnel. Following two months of analysis, the Prosecutor announced the opening of the ICC investigation into the situation in Darfur on June 6, 2005 noting that the investigation would be “impartial and independent, focusing on the individuals who bear the greatest criminal responsibility for crimes committed in Darfur”.
HOW: Five days after the Security Council referral, on April 5, 2005, the ICC Prosecutor received more than 2,500 items relating to the Darfur situation, including a sealed envelope from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that contained the International Commission of Inquiry conclusions about the Darfur situation. In addition to the material from the Commission, the Prosecutor announced that his office has collected more than 3,000 additional documents from a variety of other sources, has interviewed more than 50 individuals with specific expertise on Darfur, and has been in contact with over 100 groups and individuals regarding the situation. In his statement, the Prosecutor emphasized that in the coming weeks and months, his office would be requesting the cooperation of the Sudanese government and assistance from other states, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations. The Prosecutor also stated firm commitment to the protection of victims and witnesses and noted the importance of communication of the ICC’s activities in ensuring understanding of and participation in the ICC process within Darfur. Regarding the priority of ensuring that victims within Darfur have access to justice, the Prosecutor’s report to the Security Council noted, “We will take all possible steps to bring the proceedings closer to those affected by crimes.…We are also vigilant to the on-going commission of serious crimes in Darfur.”
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 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.
NGO Experts Quotes on the ICC Prosecutor’s Report
to the UN Security Council on Darfur – June 29. 2005
“The report of the ICC Prosecutor to the Security Council shows how the new system of international criminal justice works: States are given a chance to prevent and repress crimes, but if they fail, the Court intervenes. In this case, if Sudan fails to stop the cycle of violence and does not bring to justice those bearing the greatest responsibility for the Darfur atrocities already committed, the ICC is ready to step in and apply the principle of complementarity. The Security Council must put all its strength behind the ICC intervention in Darfur, otherwise justice and peace there will remain an empty promise”.
- Dr. David Donat Cattin, Legal Advisor, International Law & Human Rights Project, Parliamentarians for Global Action
“Today’s briefing highlights the Security Council’s obligation to ensure cooperation by un member states with the ICC investigations. This cooperation will be critical to the success of justice in the ICC’s all-important work in the days ahead.” .- Richard Dicker, Director of the International Justice Program, Human Rights Watch
“The Prosecutor’s presentation today demonstrates the great progress that has been made in a short time in preparing to hold those responsible for the genocide in Darfur accountable for their actions. But the Security Council must not let this progress be a substitute for action to stop the violence. The international community has lost interest in holding Khartoum’s feet to the fire to actually stop the violence, and is falling short of its pledges to protect innocent civilians in Darfur. It will be shameful indeed if judicial proceedings are used as an excuse by the international community to fail at actually protecting innocent civilians on the ground. Justice is an important part of a peace strategy, but prosecutions alone won’t help the people who are being raped, killed and maimed.” - Heather B. Hamilton, Vice President for Programs, Citizens for Global Solutions
“Everyone from the Secretary-General and UN agencies to human rights organizations and several media networks have all reported rape and sexual violence in Darfur as widespread and systematic. While the Prosecutor gave a cursory mention to these crimes in his statement today, we have high expectations that gender-based crimes will be a priority for the Court’s work in Darfur.” - Brigid Inder, Executive Director, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice
“The UN Security Council should take responsibility for ensuring that the Government of Sudan cooperates fully with the ICC Prosecutor's investigation into the grave crimes committed in Darfur. Sudan's special court for Darfur is not a substitute for the ICC. This special court is a facade, hiding serious deficiencies in the ability and willingness of Sudanese authorities to investigate and prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur.” -John Stompor, Senior Associate, International Justice Program, Human Rights First