Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has issued a document titled “Decision informing the United Nation’s Security Council about the lack of cooperation by the Republic of Sudan.“ The decision gives notice to the Security Council that the one situation referred to the ICC by the Security Council has not been able to proceed, in large part because the indicted parties in the Sudanese government have not appeared before the court.
The President of Sudan, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir has been indicted by the court for crimes against humanity and war crimes, as have the Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, Omar Harun, and the leader of the Janjaweed Militia, Ali Kushayb. Interestingly the decision does not mention President Bashir, only Harun and Kushayb. A fourth leader from Sudan, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda appeared voluntarily before the court and the charges were dismissed at the confirmation of charges hearing.
At least one commentator has suggested the decision is of “lamentable quality” and poor timing, coming out just before the Association of States Parties are to meet in Kampala for a review of the progess of the court and the Rome Statute. 111 nations have ratified the Rome Treaty and joined the court. Three notable holdouts have been Security Council members Russia, China and the United States. Kofi Annan, who was U.N. Secretary General at the time of the creation the court has argued the need for universal ratification.
The Situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC by the Security Council because of the concerns of an ongoing genocide. Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be indicted by an international tribunal. Some governments have promised to arrest him if he enters their territory, others have allowed him safe passage. When or whether he appears before the court is an open question.