International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Monday that it will rule next week
on whether to issue a warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
for alleged war crimes in Darfur. ICC
chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked the court last July for an arrest
warrant for the Sudanese president on charges of genocide, war crimes, and
crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Sudan's war-torn western region.
pre-trial chamber of judges said Monday that it "would issue its decision on
Wednesday, March 4. The African Union said earlier this month that it would
lobby for a one-year suspension of the case, saying a trial at the ICC could
threaten the peace process in Sudan.
Dareshori, senior counsel with the International Justice Program of Human
Rights Watch told VOA the ICC will most likely
approve an arrest warrant for some of the charges against the Sudanese
court right now is deciding whether there are reasonable grounds to believe
that al-Bashir is responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and
genocide in Darfur. That standard of proof is much lower than the threshold
that’s required to prove the crime. So I think that if I had to guess I think
that it’s likely that a warrant will be issued for at least some of those
crimes,” she said.
said the thing to watch out for is what would be Sudan’s response. She said the
international community should make clear to Khartoum that the world will not
tolerate any kind of retaliatory violence.
African Union said earlier this month that it would lobby for a one-year
suspension of the case, saying a trial at the ICC could threaten the peace
process in Sudan.
Dareshori said it is not
within the ICC’s mandate to consider the ramifications of its decision on the
“I think the court’s role is
really to decide based on the evidence, whether or not the evidence support the
findings of reasonable grounds that these crimes were committed and that Bashir
was responsible for them. It’s not within their mandate to consider what kind
of ramification this will have on peace process. It’s an independent judicial
institution that has to really just look at the evidence and focus on that and
not try to make predictions about how it would affect peace,” Dareshori said
The Sudan government this
month reached an accord with the Justice and Equality Movement in Doha, Qatar
paving the way for wider peace talks to end the conflict in Darfur.
Some have speculated that
Khartoum may be trying to soften its position on peace in Darfur. But Dareshori said the international
community wants to see action from the al-Bashir government not worlds along.
“I think what we need to
look for is action and not words, so even we have seen an agreement of goodwill
which is a nice thing, we are also still seeing an aerial bombardment in south
Darfur. And we have seen in the past ceasefires that only were signed and
broken within a couple of days. So I think what we need to see from Sudan is
real substantial change in the actions from the government, not just rhetoric
which is what we have been given so far,” she said.
The African Union has voiced
concerns that the ICC seems to be targeting only African leaders. But Dareshori
said the ICC is limited by its jurisdiction.
“It only can try people who
are in countries that are parties to the Rome Statute or where there is a
Security Council referral which is what happened with Sudan. So in other
countries where crimes are occurring if there is not a Security Council
referral then the prosecutor is not able to take action,” Dareshori said.