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.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) Pretrial Chamber I has issued another arrest warrant for the President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir. This decision follows an earlier direction from the appeals chamber, detailed here, that determined that the Pre-Trial Chamber had used the wrong standard in failing to indict Bashir for genocide.
Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be indicted by an international tribunal and have a warrant issued for his arrest, he now also bears the distinction of being the first person to be indicted for genocide by the International Criminal Court and the first person for whom an arrest warrant for genocide was issued. There are now two arrest warrants out for Bashir. The ICC’ press release is available here.
The situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC by the U.N. Security Council. Sudan is not a signatory to the ICC treaty. Bashir and the minister of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan, Ahmad Harun are the Sudanese government officials who have been indicted. Ali Kushayab, reputed head of the Janjaweed militia has also been indicted. None of those three have appeared before the court. Three other accused from Sudan have appeared voluntarily before the court. Of the three who have voluntarily appeared, one, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda had his case dismissed at the confirmation of charges hearing. The other two are awaiting their confirmation of charges hearings.
Sudan was referred to the ICC for investigation of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. Several victims have been granted the right to participate in these cases when they commence. Persons who are victims of war crimes have a right to participate in the ICC cases and to seek reparations if there is a conviction.
Two new suspects in the International Criminal Court (ICC) situation in Darfur have now voluntarily appeared before the court to answer charges of war crimes involving attacks on U.N. peacekeepers. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain (Banda) and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus (Jerbo) were issued summonses under seal in August of 2009. Banda and Jerbo are scheduled to make their appearances before the court on June 17, 2010. A previous accused from Sudan, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda appeared voluntarily before the court and his case was dismissed at the confirmation of charges hearing. That case was previously described here.
The court’s press release on the arrest of Banda and Jerbo is available here. The International Criminal Law Bureau has blogged about the scheduled appearance here.
The President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir remains under indictment for the crimes against humanity alleged in Darfur. The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs of Sudan, Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb, the leader of the Janajaweed militia have also been indicted under public indictments. None of those three have appeared before the court. It is not known how many other indictments, summonses or warrants remain under seal.
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.