ICC prosecutor tells Security Council to deliver justice for crimes in Darfur

The new headquarters of the International Criminal Court , ICC, in The Hague, The Netherlands
FILE PHOTO: Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), speaks to journalists after briefing the Security Council at its meeting on the situation in Libya at the UN Headquarters in New York./Getty Images

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) told the Security Council on Wednesday, during her briefing on Sudan that “Concrete steps” must be taken towards ending impunity for atrocity crimes in Darfur.

Emboldened by positive political changes over the last six months, since the overthrow of former dictator Omar Al Bashir, that include a Constitutional Declaration, and a new Sovereign Council and Cabinet, Fatou Bensouda expressed her hope that “Sudan will honour its commitments to deliver justice” for the victims of civil conflict in the restive Darfur region, stretching back decades.

During the Darfur conflict between the Government, their militiamen allies and rebel groups, which began in 2003, the UN estimated that around 300,000 were killed, and around 2.7 million forced from their homes. Former president al-Bashir was indicted for war crimes including genocide, nine years ago.

She recalled that ICC arrest warrants remained in force for five alleged subjects, explaining that Abdel Raheem Hussein and Ahmad Harun are believed to be in detention in Khartoum while the whereabouts of Ali Kushayb and Abdallah Banda are unknown.

The fifth outstanding warrant is for Mr. Al Bashir, who was tried and sentenced in Sudan for financial crimes earlier this week and awaits trial on other cases, including in relation to the 1989 coup that brought him to power and crimes against humanity, said Ms. Bensouda.

However, she noted that while the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute crimes rests with national jurisdictions, the ICC had no information suggesting the Darfur suspects were being investigated or prosecuted along the same lines as the ICC charges.