REPUBLIC OF SUDAN: Possible arrest warrants against Sudanese officials

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11 Jul 2008
Topic: Regional conflict
1. What will happen on Monday 14 July?
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, will submit to the Judges of the Court evidence of crimes allegedly committed in Darfur over the last five years.
He will request the Judges to issue one or more arrest warrants for the individual(s) allegedly responsible for those crimes.

In June 2008, the ICC Prosecutor told the UN Security Council: “The evidence shows that the commission of such crimes on such a scale, over a period of five years, and throughout Darfur, has required the sustained mobilization of the entire Sudanese state apparatus.” On this basis, the application for arrest warrant(s) is expected to concern high Sudanese officials.

2. What will happen next?
The Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber I will examine the Prosecutor’s application for arrest warrant(s). They have to decide whether there are “reasonable grounds to believe” that the person(s) named in the Prosecutor’s application have committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court. If the Judges conclude that the arrest of the persons appears necessary to ensure the persons’ appearance at trial or to ensure that they do not obstruct or endanger the investigations or to prevent the persons from continuing with the commission of crimes, they may issue arrest warrants.

In previous cases, the Judges have taken from one to three months to decide whether to issue arrest warrants.

3. What will happen if warrant(s) of arrest are issued?
The government of Sudan has a legal obligation to arrest and surrender to the ICC anyone named in arrest warrant(s). The United Nations Security Council imposed on the government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur a legal obligation to “cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor” (Resolution 1593 of 31 March 2005). Recently, the President of the Security Council urged the government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur to cooperate fully with the Court “in order to put an end to impunity for the crimes committed in Darfur” (Statement by the President of the Security Council, 16 June 2008).

The UN Security Council also urged all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully with the ICC (Resolution 1593 of 31 March 2005). In addition, states that have ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC have a legal obligation under the Statute to arrest and surrender the suspect(s) named in the arrest warrant(s).

4. Why is the ICC only targeting the government of Sudan and not the armed groups?
In December 2007 the ICC Prosecutor informed the United Nations Security Council that his Office is collecting information on the Haskanita attack (October 2007 killing of 10 African peacekeepers), attributed to armed groups.

5. Which consequences will these allegations have on the ground?
The request for indictment of high Sudanese officials could have repercussions on various fronts. First, it could have adverse consequences on the present and future deployment of the UNAMID peacekeeping force and on their capacity to protect civilians in Darfur. Secondly, it could further compromise the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the capacity of humanitarian organizations to operate in the region.

11 July 2008

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