Tag Archives: Omar Al Bashir

Bashir Passes on Visit to United Nations

Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir

Omar Al-Bashir

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir this week cancelled his trip to New York for the opening session of the United Nations. Bashir was the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC issued a warrant for Bashir for  war crimes and crimes against humanity in March 2009. The appeals chamber found the pre-trial chamber’s interpretation of the grounds to issue a warrant too narrow and order the chamber to re-consider it’s decision on genocide.  In addition to being the first sitting head of state to be indicted at the ICC, Bashir is the first person to have been charged with genocide at the ICC. There are two warrants for Bashir to appear at the ICC.

Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, and Deputy President of Kenya, William Ruto were charged by the ICC prior to their election to the presidency and deputy presidency.  Bashir is charged for his conduct in office, Kenyatta and Ruto are alleged to have committed crimes against humanity prior to their election.  The charges against Bashir arise from the situation in Darfur.

Kenyatta and Ruto have appeared at the ICC.  Ruto’s trial began this month, Kenyatta’s trial is scheduled to begin later this year. Kenyatta took the unusual step of testifying in his own defense at the confirmation of charges hearing. Bashir has not appeared to face the charges, nor have other members of his government who have been indicted. Major NGOs have often put pressure on other nations to arrest Bashir and send him to the ICC, he has cancelled some trips apparently because of the threat of arrrest.

Saif Qadafi to Stay in Libya

The Libyan authorities have announced that Saif Al-Islam Qadafi will stay in Libya for trial.  His trial will begin next month. Saif Qadafi, the son of Muammar Qadafi is one of three person indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.  Muammar Qadafi was also indicted but did not survive the fall of Tripoli.

The United Nations Security Council referred the situation in Libya to the ICC in February 2011.  The court indicted Muammar Qadafi, Saif Al-Islam Qadafi and the country’s intelligence chief.  Even while Muammar Qadafi was alive some suggested he should face a Libyan rather than an International process.

There has been an ongoing battle between the ICC and Libya for the handover of Qadafi, and Libya has now refused.  Qadafi would not face a death penalty at the ICC and would have access to lawyers to present a defense to the charges.  During the fight, Libya arrested lawyers sent by the ICC to prepare Qadafi’s defense.

The court has no authority or force to enforce its warrants for arrest and instead relies on the international community and the 121 state parties to the Rome Statute to enforce warrants and arrest those charged by the court.  The court has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide occurring in the borders of those countries, or by nationals of those countries, or if the situation has been referred to the court by the U.N. Security Council, as has been the case in Darfur, Sudan, and Libya, which are not signatories to the treaty. The ICC is intended to provide a fair process where a national court cannot, or will not, or if the court does not have the means to provide a fair process.

Muammar Qadafi, and Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan are the first sitting heads of state to be indicted by international criminal tribunals, neither has yet appeared to face charges.

Philippines Ratifies the Rome Statute

This week The Philippines became the 117th nation to ratify the Rome Statute and submit its citizens and politicians to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The nation offered the following official statement:

“The Philippines, a democracy that champions international law and the rule of law, views being party to the Rome Statute of the ICC as a vital part of the on-going global campaign to end impunity and violence against individuals and to further strengthen a rules-based international system, specifically in relation to international human rights law and humanitarian law,” Philippine Permanent Representative Ambassador Libran Cabactulan said.

“It is a clear signal of the importance with which the Philippines places to this treaty,” he added.

Ambassador Cabactulan further elaborated that, “The ICC also serves as a deterrent against genocide and other heinous crimes and ensures that all perpetrators of these serious crimes of concern are held accountable.

The ICC sits in The Hague, The Netherlands and has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide within the territory of the 117 nations that have ratified the treaty, or by their citizens, or when the United Nations Security Council refers a situation to the ICC for investigation.  So far, the Security Council has referred the situation in Darfur, Sudan and in Libya.  In response the prosecutor has sought, and obtained, warrants for the arrest of two heads of state, Muammar Qadafi of Libya, and Omar Al Bashir, President of Sudan.

State’s Parties to the Rome Statute are, among other things charged with enforcing the court’s warrants.  Should those with outstanding warrants appear on their territory, those 117 nations are expected to effect the arrest.

Pre-Trial Chamber Confirms Charge in Darfur Case

Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a finding confirming the charges against Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo.  The court statement said the court  found that Banda and Jerbo should stand trial for three war crimes:

  • violence to life and attempted violence to life;
  • intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission; and
  • pillaging.

The court included the following information supporting the charges:

These crimes were allegedly committed during an attack led by Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo and other commanders and directed against the compound of the African Union Mission in Sudan at Haskanita on the evening of 29 September 2007. The Chamber found substantial grounds to believe that the attack was directed to personnel, installations, material, units and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations which were entitled to the protection afforded to civilians and civilian objects.

Banda and Jerbo appeared voluntarily before the court, following the lead of Bahar Idriss Abu Garda who also appeared voluntarily, but won a dismissal at the confirmation of charges hearing.  The court has also issued indictments against the President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmad Harun, and Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayab.  The situation in Darfur was the first case referred to the ICC by the United Nations Security Council.  The second, Libya, was referred last week.

To date, Sudan has refused to turn the indictees over to the court, so the only ones who have appeared are the three who have appeared voluntarily.

The seventy five page decision is available here. There are currently three cases in trial stage at the ICC, the case against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a joint case against Matthieu Ngdolo Chui and Germain Katanga, and the case against Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo.  Another accused, Callixte Mbarushimana has recently arrived in The Hague. In addition to the Sudan accused at large, there is one accused from the Democratic Republic of Congo still at large and three from Uganda who have not yet appeared before the court.

There may be other indictments that have not yet been made public.  Indictments in the post-election violence in Kenya case were also released today.