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UN Security Council should support ICC over Darfur

The United Nations Security Council should support the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) efforts to bring justice to the victims of war crimes in Darfur, according to Amnesty International. The organization urged the Council on Thursday, to reject calls to block prosecutions of persons charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes and to take immediate, concrete steps to ensure that all persons named in ICC arrest warrants are arrested and surrendered to the ICC. The Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is scheduled to report the findings of his investigation into the situation in Darfur to the Council on Friday. Among the cases being examined by the ICC in relation to the situation in Darfur, are the court's international arrest warrants against Sudanese government minister Ahmad Harun and Janjawid militia leader Ali Kushayb, issued in April 2007 and the arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, issued on 4 March 2009. All three men are wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Sudanese government has so far refused to arrest them or hand them over to the ICC. Sudanese authorities have a legal obligation to arrest anyone named in an ICC arrest warrant under Security Council Resolution 1593 (2005), which requires Sudan to cooperate with the ICC. Sudan has taken no serious step to investigate and prosecute anyone suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur, as the Prosecutor reported in the past. Instead of heeding the Security Council's request to cooperate fully with the ICC, some states and organizations have invited a fugitive from international justice, President Omar al Bashir, for official visits and meetings with complete impunity. "Four years ago the Security Council used its powers under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to refer the situation in Darfur to the ICC" said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Africa programme. "Now it is its duty to use the same powers to direct Sudan to hand all persons named in ICC arrest warrants over to the ICC and direct all other states to arrest and surrender them promptly to the ICC, as Brazil announced it would do. They must face a fair trial in an independent court without the possibility of the death penalty." Amnesty International has said that it believes that the Security Council should define a framework to ensure the implementation of resolution 1593 and ICC decisions concerning the situation in Darfur. Such a framework could include using the existing sanctions committee established pursuant to resolution 1591(2005) to cover those named in ICC arrest warrants or establishing some other body to oversee the implementation of measures intended to enforce the ICC arrest warrants. Such a body could direct each member state to provide reports on what steps they have taken to ensure that they have the legislation and procedures in place to arrest persons named in ICC arrest warrants and to implement ICC requests concerning their arrest, when such persons visit their countries.