NEW YORK, March 12 (IPS) – Elise Kepler is Associate Director for International Justice at Human Rights Watch. Sudanese authorities entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Criminal Court in February in their investigations into Ali Kushayb. This much-needed step is expected to allow ICC investigators Arrival in Sudan Ahead of deliberations by the ICC judges in May to assess whether there is sufficient evidence of this He sent his case On trial.
Kosheib, the leader of the “Janjaweed” militia who has also held leadership positions in the Sudanese People’s Defense Auxiliary Forces and Central Reserve Police, is facing charges against the International Criminal Court on more than 50 counts. War crimes and crimes against humanity Committed in Darfur. he is I surrendered voluntarily To court last June.
It has the transitional government of Sudan I promised to cooperate With the International Criminal Court, and Welcomed the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court To Sudan for the first time in October. This is in stark contrast to the previous government of Omar al-Bashir – which the ICC is also seeking, on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur – which was very active. Banned the International Criminal Court efforts.
But the transitional government can and should continue to cooperate further by handing over the remaining four fugitives from the International Criminal Court, three of whom, including Bashir, are indeed them. In Sudanese custody.
It is important to note that there is no Legal basis To the Sudanese authorities To uphold runaways from the International Criminal CourtIn fact, they are internationally obligated to hand them over. The UN Security Council resolution that explicitly referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court in 2005 It requires Sudan’s cooperation With the International Criminal Court. It was adopted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, which means it carries with it the enforcement authority of the Council.
Some would argue that Sudanese authorities can and should try ICC suspects at home. But then, the government will have to prove to ICC judges that the Sudanese legal system is in the process of trying the same suspects for the same crimes covered by the ICC charges.
There are no such measures at present based on the available information, and after a year and a half of the transitional government coming to power, a long time has already passed. Authorities should transfer fugitives stuck in the ICC now and then follow necessary procedures if they want to try suspects at home for the same crimes.
But authorities should also consider all challenges of trying to prosecute ICC cases at home. Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes – the charges that the suspects face at the International Criminal Court – were not explicit crimes. Sudanese law Even more than five years after government forces began to commit Widespread atrocities In Darfur in 2003. It is possible that the local courts could decide that Suspects can not He is being tried for these crimes in Sudan, where the law did not change until after the crimes had occurred.
If domestic prosecutions were to take place only for other crimes, such as murder and conspiracy, then this would deprive victims of accountability for the full range of atrocities committed.
The legal principle of Leadership responsibility, Which often bears the criminal responsibility of the leaders, is still not included in Sudanese law. immunity For those in official positions and Statutes of limitation The issues are limited locally as well, and the Sudan system lacks Fair trial protection In law and practice, procedures necessary for credible, in fact and appearance.
The ICC focuses on a small number of cases involving the highest suspects and with good reason – the cases can be very intense Complicated and expensive To prosecute because it often involves many accidents over a long period and shows links with suspects who may not have been physically present when the crimes were committed. Cases tend to be very sensitive given the characteristics of suspects and attendees Great security and witness protection Problems. Addressing these issues may be a major pressure on the Sudanese authorities.
Meanwhile, there are more than enough opportunities for the Sudanese authorities to achieve justice for past crimes that go beyond the five Darfur cases brought before the International Criminal Court. There is no doubt that dozens – and possibly hundreds – of other people who should be criminally investigated with a view to prosecution from the middle to the higher level are responsible for atrocities in disputes in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile And Darfur, along with Attacks on protesters. Some of the people implicated in these violations are still inside Official positions.
While news reports indicate There has been progress In the few domestic criminal investigations into crimes of the past, impunity overwhelmingly reigns supreme and much more Strong efforts Wanted. Sudan should establish without delay the Special Court for Crimes in Darfur prescribed in 2020 Juba Peace Agreement.
And if the Sudanese authorities are pursuing charges against any of the suspects at the ICC for crimes other than those brought by the ICC, they can negotiate an opportunity for the suspects to face those charges in Sudan. It is possible that the International Criminal Court procedures allow suspects to serve their sentences there Their countries, If desired.
Sudan should not cling to fugitives from the International Criminal Court in defiance of international obligations because they aspire one day to prosecute them for crimes in Darfur. This does not serve the victims nor the government, which can gain a lot of support for the transition process through immediate handover and can benefit from having greater resources to devote to many other cases involving serious crimes that should be prosecuted.
© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service