A spokesman for the International Criminal Court (ICC) says the court is referring Chad and Malawi to the United Nations Security Council over their refusal to arrest indicted Sudanese President Hassan Omar al-Bashir following his visits there.
Chad and Malawi are signatories to the Rome Statute that established the ICC. Fadi el- Abdallah says both Chad and Malawi abdicated their responsibilities to the court by refusing to carry out the international arrest warrants against Mr. Bashir.
He says judges of the court are obligated under the Rome Statutes to refer the two countries to the Security Council as well as the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute.
This, Abdallah said, ensures “the states will cooperate with the court and will allow the court to exercise its mandate and to fulfill its duties in matter of bringing justice and helping in building lasting peace.”
The ICC indicted Bashir after accusing the Sudanese leader of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, in particular against the people of western region of Darfur. Khartoum dismisses the charges as without merit.
Abdallah says the general rule is that “in case of non-cooperation with the ICC, the judges can refer the matter to the Security Council if the referral of the situation was by the Security Council like the case for Sudan and for Libya."
He also says the rule was necessary to ensure that countries will cooperate with the ICC to carry out its mandate and to “fulfill its duties in the matter of bringing justice and helping to building lasting peace.”
Abdallah says the Security Council and the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute will decide what measures to take against the two countries for failing to cooperate with the court.
“It’s not for the ICC to decide what measure might be appropriate because of non-cooperation in the issue of arresting and surrendering Mr. Omar al-Bashir to the court when he visited Malawi and Chad,” he said.
Critics say the ICC is undermining Africa’s unity as well as thwarting camaraderie efforts by countries to ensure good neighborliness, peace and security. But Abdallah says the court does not play politics with administering justice.
“The judges and the court in general can only apply the law and the legal rules. We cannot as a court, as a judicial institution, take into consideration political questions,” said Abdallah. “It is very important in building any lasting peace to have justice done. It is important for victims to feel that there is justice and that their rights are guaranteed. Because if not, how would you stop the cycle of violence and the cycle of vengeance?”