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Monday, June 06, 2005

ICC to Investigate Darfur war crimes

Reuters AlertNet:

The decision today by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, to start an investigation into atrocities in Darfur is a key step toward bringing justice for those crimes, Human Rights Watch said. 'The ICC prosecutor's decision to investigate mass slaughter and rape in Darfur will start the wheels of justice turning for the victims of these atrocities,' said Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's International Justice Program. 'As a U.N. member state, Sudan is obligated to cooperate with the ICC investigation.' On March 31, the United Nations Security Council voted to refer the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court by adopting Resolution 1593. Under the court's statute, the prosecutor's initiation of an investigation reflects his assessment that the Sudanese authorities are 'unwilling or unable' to prosecute crimes within the ICC mandate, namely genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. This is consistent with Human Rights Watch's finding that the Sudanese authorities have not taken any meaningful steps to hold those most responsible for serious international crimes to account since the armed conflict began in February 2003.
While I have my doubts at the effectiveness of the ICC, I certainly welcome this action and the investigation. When everything is all said and done though, it seems unlikely that unless direct military power is brought to bear against Sudan, no one will face justice for these crimes. It seems very unlikely that any military power will be brought against Sudan, and even less likely that the UNSC will authorize such an action. Still, the very pressence of the investigation will hopefully bring the nature of these crimes to light, and perhaps more importantly, stop or at least reduce, these crimes.


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