|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6688th Meeting (AM)
Execution of Arrest Warrants against Individuals Sought by Criminal Court, Including
Sudan’s President, ‘Will End the Crimes in Darfur’, Security Council Told
Prosecutor Says Fugitives Control Government, Command Military Operations;
Sudan Says Report ‘Usual Lies and False Accusations’, Ignores Doha Document
The individuals sought by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur were still allegedly committing similar acts, but the execution of the arrest warrants against them “will end the crimes in Darfur”, the Court’s Chief Prosecutor told Security Council members today.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo stressed that the world knew where the fugitives of the Court were: in official positions, controlling the Government of Sudan and commanding military operations in different parts of Sudan. Meanwhile, civilians in Darfur continued to be subjected to indiscriminate aerial bombardment, despite numerous injunctions that such attacks cease.
“The arrest warrants shall be implemented. The Security Council resolutions shall be respected. Millions of civilians in Darfur shall be protected,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo stressed, as he presented his fourteenth report submitted pursuant to paragraph 8 of Council resolution 1593 (2005), by which the Council referred the situation in Darfur to the Court.
It was easy, he said, to produce a long list of Sudan’s false promises and refusals to abide by previous commitments. But, the Council would have a new opportunity to develop a strategy to implement resolution 1593 (2005) and Presidential statement 21 when the Court decided, in the coming months, on the arrest warrant requested against Minister of Defence Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein.
His next report on June 2012 could offer further opportunity to establish consensus on the way forward, he said. The African Union and the Arab League should play a central role in achieving a solution that respected the Council’s authority and the Court’s decisions. The Sudanese Government must, for its part, receive a clear message and adjust accordingly.
“The people in Darfur need the Council’s leadership,” he said, stressing that it was his duty as Prosecutor to “galvanize efforts to implement the arrest warrants issued by the Court”.
In outlining his fourteenth report, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo recalled the history of his Office’s investigations into the Darfur case, which, in its first case, concluded that from 2003 to 2005, Government of Sudan forces bombed Darfuri villages before ground forces surrounded them and moved in to rape, kill and pillage. Evidence showed the role of then Minister of State for the Interior, Ahmed Harun, in coordinating those attacks, as well as of militia/Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb as ground commander in some of attacks, and arrest warrants had been issued against both for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
A few days ago, his Office requested an arrest warrant for then-Minister of Interior Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, who was being charged with the same crimes as the first two, thus expanding the number of suspects in the Court’s first Darfur case. Evidence showed that through his subordinate, Mr. Harun, Mr. Hussein played a central role in coordinating the crimes, including recruiting, mobilizing, funding, arming, training and deploying the militia/Janjaweed forces as part of the Government’s forces with knowledge that those forces would commit crimes.
He went on to note that, in its second case, his Office identified the responsibility of President Omer al-Bashir, who directed his forces to “take no prisoners, nor wounded” but to leave behind only “scorched earth”. President Bashir’s genocidal intentions were clear, first when he denied assents to entire groups who were forced out to their homes into the inhospitable desert, and again, after the United Nations and others set up the world’s largest humanitarian operation, by ordering a different type of attack on those in the aid camps through hunger and rape.
“The crimes of extermination and genocide… do not require killing by bullets,” he said. “They consist of intentionally inflicting conditions of life — such as the deprivation of food and medicine — calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population or group.”
Consequently, the Court had issued two arrest warrants for President Bashir, he said. Meanwhile, his Office was, in its third Darfur case, prosecuting two commanders of the rebel groups that attacked African Union peacekeepers in their base at Haskanita in September 2007. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus had appeared voluntarily before the Court and surrendered for trial, which should start in 2012.
He stressed that the rebel commanders had accepted their participation in the attack and were only contesting whether it was unlawful, whether they knew it was and whether the African Union mission in Sudan was a peacekeeping mission in accordance with the United Nations Charter. If those issues were settled in the prosecution’s favour, the accused commanders would plead guilty.
Having outlined those cases, he underscored that while his Office was still evaluating the responsibility of a third rebel commander, Abu Garda, there were no sealed arrest warrants requested or pending. Thus, there were currently no other cases.
He stressed that, while Sudan had a legal obligation, in accordance with Council resolution 1593 (2005), to cooperate with the Court, President Bashir had publicly refused to implement the warrants against Mr. Harun and Mr. Kushayb. Following the issuance of the first arrest warrant against him, he had also expelled humanitarian organizations from the country. He further blackmailed the international community by threatening to commit the same crimes in the South, thereby jeopardizing the North-South peace process.
Weighing in on recent developments regarding the obligation of States to arrest President al-Bashir, he highlighted, among others, the finding of the pre-Trial Chamber I that in Malawi, as well as Chad, customary international law created an exception to Head-of-State immunity when international courts sought their arrest for the commission of international crimes. Moreover, there was no conflict, in the case of Malawi, between its obligations to the Court and those under customary law, rendering article 98(1) of the Rome Statute inapplicable.
Taking the floor after Mr. Moreno-Ocampo’s presentation, Sudan’s representative, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, said his country was not part of the Court and that he was addressing the Council to shed light on the truth regarding the Prosecutor’s false allegations. Citing numerous examples that he said refuted the Prosecutor’s findings, he first turned to statements made by United Nations officials, including from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
Citing the latest Secretary-General’s report on Darfur, which was presented to the Council last month, he said paragraph 20 referred to a “decrease in violence in Darfur” and that the number of deaths caused by tribal clashes had dropped from more than 1,000 to about 300. Further, paragraph 38 of that report referred to the continuing return of internally displaced persons on a voluntary basis, while paragraph 49 referred to, in the context of protection, a reduction in the number of incidents compared with the previous year’s statistics.
“Who are we to believe?” he asked. “The report with the specific statistics or the usual lies and false accusations? The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) report or the Prosecutor’s report?”
The Prosecutor’s accusations ran counter to the basic principles of a professional attitude, he said, adding that he was certain that the Council would dismiss them. Highlighting the Prosecutor’s allegations against Sudan’s Minister of Defence, he cited paragraph 12 from the Secretary-General’s report, which noted that in 2005, armed conflict plagued the country, including South Kordofan.
If armed forces were facing rioters that jeopardized stability in the country, would the Prosecutor issue a warrant against the Minister of Defence, he asked. Instead, the Prosecutor had ignored the most important historic event in Darfur, which was the signing of the Doha Agreement, which emphasized that peace and reconciliation were national matters.
Explaining why Sudan was not a party to the International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute — and, thus, not subject to compliance — he said the Statute did not hold the Prosecutor accountable to Governments. Quoting United States former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s memoirs, he said former President George W. Bush had strongly opposed the Court on the basis of that lack of accountability.
Further, Mr. Osman said that the lack of accountability should the Prosecutor fail to abide by the principles of impartiality had been proven correct based on several cases.
He went on to cite a number of sources that would prove his point that no genocide or ethnic cleansing had taken place in Darfur, including reports by an international commission headed by the late International Criminal Court Judge Antonio Cassisi, an official of Médecins Sans Frontières, a European Union mission official, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Political Affairs, and the United Nations Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, as well as various news articles from the BBC, Agence France Presse and other media outlets.
The Prosecutor had also intentionally ignored the important historic event in Darfur, the Doha document, which the Security Council had acknowledged in a previous meeting. He said the Doha document was the clearest example of the Government’s intention of achieving peace, adding that only a blind eye could not see that the situation in Darfur had improved considerably. He concluded by appealing to the Council to assist the Government of Sudan in helping to complete the drive for peace and to urge the remaining rebel forces to negotiate.
The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 11:02 a.m.
* *** *